Fires can spread very quickly; there is no time to gather valuables or make a phone call. In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes, a home can be engulfed in flames. Of all residential fires, 72% are caused by cooking and home heating. It is critical to understand the basic characteristics of fire to help protect yourself, your family and your home.
Fires are hot, fast, and even deadly. A small flame can cause a room to light up in flames in less than 30 seconds. It can take away your oxygen, cause poisonous gases, and cause you to feel disoriented and drowsy, making it harder to escape. It is a scenario none of us ever want to experience.
Below are a few tips to help prevent a fire happening in your home.
1. Inspect your home. Have a professional come out and look at your electric wiring, plumbing (gas), heating, and air conditioning to ensure that everything is working correctly and there are no possible fire hazards. You should have those checked at least every 6 months.
2. Check your appliances. Make sure to keep your stove and oven clean from any grease accumulation. Also, always check the power cords of your appliances. You’ll want to look for missing grounding prongs on the plugs and damaged insulation. If you find those, make sure to replace or repair them immediately.
3. Maintain your fireplace correctly. Have your chimney and fireplace inspected at least once a year. Also, make sure to always take out any ashes or unscorched wood out of the fireplace and place away from the home or any buildings.
4. Keep flammable liquids away from any ignition sources. Any highly flammable liquids should be kept in UL approved containers and out of the house.
5. Always stay in the kitchen when using a stove top. What may feel like being away for only 5 minutes could turn into 30 minutes, leaving your food there to burn, or worse, catch on fire. If you are leaving for just a minute, turn off all the burners on the stove.
6. Never pile up lawn clippings near a building. Fermenting lawn clippings can create heat, and catch on fire very easily.
7. Check your smoke detectors frequently. You want to make sure there are always fresh batteries, in case there ever is a fire, it can adequately do it’s job.
8. Finally, consider installing a home sprinkler system. This can be utilized to extinguish fires when you are home or away.
Home fires are preventable! Educating yourself, friends and family can help prevent you from losing your home and valuables. To learn more about how you can prevent home fires visit: https://www.ready.gov/home-fires.