Whether you are single and live alone or have a family, you should have a home fire safety checklist in place. What will you do if there is a fire? Do you know ways to prevent one? Do you have homeowners or renters insurance? You can never rewind time when one of these tragic events occurs, so taking the time to plan ahead and take preventative measures is extremely important. The perfect time to create a fire plan is when you are thinking about moving and storage.
- If there are children in the home, never leave food cooking in the kitchen unattended
- Always make sure there is nothing that can fall on the stove while it is on, such as pot holders or papers on the counter that could be blown by a breeze from the window.
- Turn space heaters off before bed and when you leave the home.
- Make sure your chimneys is inspected and cleaned annually.
- Use a screen on your fireplace to catch sparks.
- Be responsible with extension cords. They should never cross a doorway or be placed under carpet.
- Inspect cords frequently, especially if you have pets in the home. Just because you do not see them chew does not mean that they don’t.
- Don’t overload one outlet in the kitchen to numerous appliances that use high energy.
- Make sure you have smoke alarms in your home. They should be on every level.
- Check the batteries in your smoke alarm periodically.
- Make a point to check for toys, shoes and other clutter in front of fire exits.
Creating a Fire Escape Plan
Creating a fire escape plan is one of the most important things that you can do with your family. Of course, creating it is not enough; this plan needs to be practiced with different scenarios frequently. This is especially true with children who easily forget little details.
The first step is to draw a floor plan. If you have multiple levels in your home, use multiple pieces of paper. Ideally, when you get the rough draft the way you like it, you will transfer it to heavy duty poster board so it can be hung on a wall somewhere.
Make sure that all usable exits are drawn. Keep in mind that a window on a second level isn’t usable to a child unless they have a fire ladder in their room and they know how to use it.
You will need to make a plan as to who will help a young child. While you may assume that you will be the one to run up the stairs to help, keep in mind that the stairs could be gone. A teenager or older sibling may need to take charge in an extreme situation.
You have to also establish a meeting place established outside the home. Lives are often lost from someone re-entering to find someone else. This person may be in the backyard while you are in the front. Most importantly, always wait until you get outside to safety to call the fire department.
It should also be noticed that if you have pets someone will have the responsibility of grabbing them. Make sure that you have a sticker on your window that tells how many dogs and cats are in the home, so firefighters know what they are looking for if a fire occurs when you are not at home.