Guide: Safety measures to help prevent fires and how to escape one

Many home fires are preventable. Here are some tips to help keep your loved ones safe.

Sandrina Rodrigues

Oct 9, 2023, 8:30 AM

Updated 279 days ago


Many home fires are preventable, according to the National Fire Protection Association. 
The American Red Cross says that when a fire starts in your home you may have as little as two minutes to escape. 
Early warning from a working smoke detector, and a fire escape plan that has been practiced regularly can save lives.
Below are some tips from the National Fire Protection Association to help keep your loved ones safe:
Watch your cooking: Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you must leave, even for a short time, turn off the stove.
Space heaters: Keep fixed and portable space heaters at least three feet from anything that can burn. Turn off heaters when you leave the room or go to sleep.
Smoke outside: Ask smokers to smoke outside. Have sturdy, deep ashtrays for smokers.
Matches and lighters: Keep matches and lighters up high, out of the reach of children, preferably in a cabinet with a child lock.
Inspect electrical cords: Replace cords that are cracked, damaged, have broken plugs, or have loose connections. Never use an extension cord with large appliances, like a refrigerator. And do not overload electrical outlets.
Candles: Never leave a burning candle unattended.
Smoke alarms: Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Interconnect smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
Test smoke alarms: Test smoke alarms at least once a month and replace batteries once a year or when the alarm “chirps” to tell you the battery is low. Replace any smoke alarm that is more than 10 years old.
Install sprinklers: If you are building or remodeling your home, install residential fire sprinklers. Sprinklers can contain and may even extinguish a fire in less time than it would take the fire department to arrive.

Do you know how to escape a fire? Below are some tips: 

Even before there is a fire, make a home escape plan. Draw a map of your home showing all doors and windows. Discuss the plan with everyone in your home. And don’t forget to include your pets in the plan. Here’s an example of a home fire escape plan
Practice your home fire drill at night and during the day with everyone in your home, twice a year.
Know at least two ways out of every room, if possible. And have an outside meeting place - like a tree, light pole or mailbox - a safe distance from the home where everyone should meet. 
Never hide in the house. 
Leave Immediately. Do not go back to save belongings.
Never go up to the roof, always down to the street.
Do not open the windows. 
Close doors behind you as you leave so that it slows down the fire spreading.
Do not use the elevator. Take the stairs.
If there is smoke, wet a towel, cover your mouth and nose, not to smell smoke. Get down low and go under the smoke. 
Once you’re out, never go back to a burning place.
Call 911 for help. 
Click here for a family’s home safety action plan from the National Fire Protection Association.

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