We're careful, we know how to prevent fires … but everyday it happens. Every year there are more than 500,000 serious residential fires reported to fire departments. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) more than 90 percent of these fires occur in one and two family houses, resulting in 4,000 deaths and property losses exceeding 4 billion dollars annually.
While noone plans to have a fire, it's always better to be prepared and hopefully that will mean you won't have a fire. At the same time it will also mean you and your loved ones are prepared to react if there is a fire in your home.
Here are the products recommended to keep your family safe in case of fire.
The majority of home fire deaths happen at night and most often, it's due to smoke or poisonous gases, not the fire itself. You should install smoke alarms on every level of your home and outside all sleeping areas. Detectors should be placed on the ceiling or 6-8 inches below the ceiling, and away from air vents or registers.
Fire Escape Ladders for Bedrooms
Only 12% of people living in 2 or 3 story houses have portable escape ladders and more troubling, few actually remember where they are stored. The PEARL ladder is designed for permanent installation directly beneath the windows you'll use to escape from a fire. It is there when you need it. When installed in the wall of bedrooms on the second/third floor, there is no time lost finding and deploying the ladder.
The best choice for general home use is a multipurpose dry chemical ABC fire extinguisher. These should be mounted on the wall near exist so anyone using it can escape if the fire spreads too quickly. Pressure should be checked periodically and all adults in the home should know how to use the fire extinguisher.
Kitchen fires account for almost 28% of all fires with very hot oil one of the main causes. Fire blankets should be easily accessible near exit doorways. They can be used to smother a kitchen fire, cover someone on fire or worn over the head when passing through an area on fire. They can be purchased at hardware stores. For more information, read Fire Blanket Safety in the Home.
Home Fire Escape Plan
Fires spread very quickly and you may have as little as 2 minutes to get your family safely out of the house. That's why it's important to plan and practice your family escape plan in advance (FEMA recommends twice a year).
- Identify at least 2 exits from every room in the house. This includes all finished rooms in the basement which must have an egress window for it's second exit.
- Have a place for family members to meet outside the house and far enough from your home to gather safely.
- Practice your escape plan twice a month, more often with younger children.
- Store the fire department phone number on every phone and know when to call
Quarterly Safety Check
- Test smoke alarms and change batteries annually and alarms every 8-10 years
- Check the pressure guage on all fire extinguishers
- Review (practice twice a year) your family fire escape plan and when to call 911
Preventing Home Fires
Too often we forget to address the home safety basics listed here. For a more comprehensive list of sources of home fires, along with safety assessment questions and recommendations, review the FEMA's (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Fire Safety Checklist.