“That’ll never happen to us!” No one ever thinks a home fire will happen in their household – until it does.
Here, at Somerset Fire Alarm & Security, we think about it for you! We take fire safety very seriously and always want you and your family to be prepared. We’ve pulled together a few fast facts and tips, from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), on how you can keep your family safe and aware in the event of a fire.
Let’s start with some FIRE-HOT facts!
Did you know that leading cause of all fire related deaths are due to home fires?
It’s true — 87% of all fire related deaths are caused by fires in your own home!
On average how many people are injured or lose their lives to home fires?
Annually between 2011-2015, on average 2,510 people lost their lives and 12,300 were injured in the U.S. alone.
What accounts for 25% of smoke detector failures?
Dead batteries! 2 out of every 5 smoke detectors have missing, disconnected, or dead batteries.
Did you know 3 out of 5 home fire deaths occur in homes without smoke detectors or with nonworking smoke detectors?
40% of those deaths are due to homes without smoke detectors and 17% are from smoke detectors that don’t work!
What ages account for more than 12% of home fire deaths?
Children under the age of 15. Those same aged children account for 10% of the injuries, while children under the age of 5 account for 6% of deaths and 4% of injuries.
Don’t be part of the statistics!
Accidents happen; home fires happen; it could happen to you. There are five top causes of home fires that you can be aware of and potentially prevent harm to your loved ones. The top five causes are (1) cooking, (2) heating, (3) electrical, (4) smoking, and (5) candles. Burners are left on and unattended. Space heaters are caught too close to flammable objects or that chimney you’ve been meaning to clean collects too much debris. Faulty wiring overheats and combusts. Leaving cigarettes lit, or carelessly discarding them may allow the cigarette to contact with flammable materials or vegetation. We all love the smell of a freshly lit candle, but have you left the room and forgot about a lit candle? I know I have.
The Escape Plan!
Another thing to think about when it comes to home fires, is whether your family has an escape plan. In order to keep your family better protected, you must prepare your kids and family for fire danger. Within the school system, teachers continuously go over threats to the school building, especially of what to do when the fire alarm goes off, in order to better protect and prepare your kids. Every month a fire alarm drill is executed for students to know what to do and where exactly to go in the event of an emergency. Do your kids know where to go if the emergency was to happen in your home? There is an abundance of children-friendly books to help you begin the discussion. I've linked a great resource at the bottom for some of these books so your children can be prepared in the event of a fire emergency. To better protect your family, it is imperative that you design a fire evacuation route with your family.
How do you create a fire escape plan?
Get your family together and start walking through your home, discussing and finding TWO different exit routes from each room of your home. Why two? In the event that a fire is blocking one of the major exits, having a second option already available could be lifesaving. Now that you’ve walked around and discussed the two exits from every room, use the free PDF at the bottom of this page to draw out your plan and post it on a wall in your home for everyone to see and remember.
Where is your safe zone?
Now your family knows how exactly to get out of your home, where do they go from there? The next step is to set up a ‘safe zone’ outside and away from your home. This designated safe zone allows for all family members to meet up in the event of separation due to a fire. Your designated spot should be far enough away from the house that the fire won’t affect it — whether it’s a tree at the very back of your yard, or the lamp post on the sidewalk out front of your home. Your safe zone should be known by all members of your family and practiced a few times per year.
Have you checked your smoke detectors?
We all know the ungodly chirp of a dying smoke detector battery. But the sole purpose of a smoke detector is to alert you in the event of a fire and provide you with that additional escape time. If you take a battery out, or leave a dead battery in, how are you supposed to have those extra few minutes alert of a fire in your home? Do your children know the sound the smoke detectors make when smoke is present?
It’s important when practicing your exiting procedures that the alarm is activated in order for everyone to understand and acknowledge the sound. Even if everyone knows the sound, there has been significant research that sleeping children do not always wake to the sound of an activated alarm. With everyone's home escape routes being different, it is imperative to know whether individual members of the household will awaken to the noise of the alarm. If certain individuals do not wake to the sound, you should set in place a designated adult who will and that can easily wake other household members.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if you have a home “where there are infants, older adults, family members with mobility limitations or children who do not wake to the sound of the smoke alarm, make sure that someone is assigned to assist them in the event of an emergency (NFPA).”
If you tend to forget to check to see if your smoke detectors are in fact working – here’s a fun tip! Add a calendar alert to your smart phone for once a month to remind yourself to test that the alarm is working properly. These small tasks make it so you’re already one step closer to having a safe home!
Your Fire Safety Home Checklist!
Avoid the fire causers: Double check all kitchen equipment before leaving the room. Make sure the area around your space heaters are clear. If you have a chimney, clean it annually – make it part of your spring-cleaning project. Keep all your electrical wiring up to date – have it inspected! Try to smoke outdoors and have a safe location to dispose of their remnants. Put out a candle when you leave the room – you can always relight it!
Check your smoke detectors: Use the test button on your smoke detector to ensure the alarm sounds. Change the batteries in your detectors if you notice the alarm does not go off with the test. Never take and leave out batteries on your smoke detectors!
Educate your family on fire safety procedures and what to do in case of a fire.
Create a safe home evacuation plan with your family as well as a safe zone outside of your home for everyone to meet in case of a fire. Practice this plan often!
Ensure everyone in your home knows the sound of the alarm a smoke detector makes when in distress and that everyone knows their jobs in case of a fire emergency.
Somerset Fire Alarm & Security is here to educate, protect, and help the community.
We are committed every minute of every day.
Call us today with any questions or concerns and we will be glad to help you and your family out. Be sure to LIKE, COMMENT, & SHARE this post if you found it insightful or helpful in any way. Stay tuned for more Somerset FAS blog posts in the future!
Download or print off this checklist to keep with you!