Fire Safety Rules
By Editorial Staff
Contributed by Info Guru Aurora LaJambre
Fires take thousands of lives in the United States each year.
Many that occur in the home are preventable with proper precautions. And even if you do wake up to the dreaded smell of smoke, practicing survival basics will help you avoid serious injury.
These top fire safety rules exist to prevent the worst case scenario from ever happening.
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10. Smoke Alarms
Homes, offices and public buildings are required by law to have working fire alarms installed. There should be at least one on every floor and the batteries need to be checked monthly. These alarms are affordable and, on average, last about ten years so there’s no reason not to have them.
9. Have an escape plan
Grade school children learn the value of a fire escape plan. They even practice drills throughout the year to ensure everybody knows the quickest way to exit the building calmly. It’s critical for parents to do the same at home. Create a simple sketch of the house and practice exiting from every room.
8. Remember smoke rises
One of the most important things to remember about fire is that smoke rises so stay low to the floor. This prevents smoke inhalation and enables anyone caught in a fire to think clearly and make smart decisions.
7. No hot spots allowed
Overloaded power circuits or surge protectors are a common cause of electrical fires. Turn off any appliances that smoke or spark and stop using them until fixed. Mind where you run wires and make a point to tie them up neatly.
6. EXIT signs
In public buildings, compliant exit signs are required above every exit and protected way out within a highly visible line-of-sight. These signs are designed to illuminate in the dark to safely guide people, and they come with a battery that will keep the fixture operational for a minimum of 90 minutes after a power failure. Businesses that fail to comply face steep fines and even forced closure by the local Department of Buildings (DOB).
5. Teach kids
Young children don’t usually see fire as the danger that it is. Keep all matches and lighters out of reach and teach them that fire is not okay to play with. Plug any unused power outlets with child safety covers.
Proper kitchen ventilation, particularly over the stove, is a requirement. When working with flammable materials or solutions with strong vapors, open windows and turn on fans to circulate the air. This will prevent flammable substances from building up to the point where they can ignite if a match is it. Also leave about 3 feet around portable heaters, stereos and other large equipment that can overheat.
3. Candle care
Because candles are visually non-intrusive, they’re way too easy to forget about. Be extremely careful if you choose to burn a candle. Leave a note for yourself by the bed or door if you’ve left one burning in the past. Hopeless romantics should stick to candles in glass jars and other sturdy stands.
2. Kitchen Safety
Some of the most common sense fire safety rules are the easiest to forget when you’re in the cooking or baking zone. Wear shorter sleeves so there’s no risk of catching a flame. Turn all handles inward and if you have small children use the back burners when possible to prevent them from reaching up and grabbing at hot pans. Use safe containers to microwave and never put aluminum or any metal inside.
1. Smother flames
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Keep a fire extinguisher near the kitchen so you can extinguish a grease fire before it gets out of hand. If possible, you can also smother a small fire with a large lid since fires need oxygen. Stop, drop and roll if any part of your clothing catches fire. If you see flames on someone else cover them in a curtain or blanket and try to pat out the flames.
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