Fire safety is essential for maintaining a safe and secure home environment. A house fire can be devastating, causing loss of property and even loss of life. The good news is you can take proactive measures to prevent fires and prepare accordingly in case a fire does break out.
The safety of you and your family is most important, so you should understand how to mitigate fire dangers inside and teach everybody in the house the importance of home fire safety. Below, we discuss some of the common causes of house fires and the best ways to prevent and deal with fires.
Most Common Home Fire Safety Hazards
A fire can happen at any time and be devastating for your home and family. Knowing the most common causes of home fires can help you prevent them from happening in the first place. Here are some of the most common ways house fires start and what you can do to mitigate fire risk:
- Cooking accidents: Cooking accounts for nearly half of all house fires. The main culprit behind cooking accidents is unattended cooking equipment. Leaving food on the stove or in the oven can easily lead to a fire, so always remember to be present while cooking.
- Heating equipment: Space heaters and other heating equipment can cause fires if they’re too close to flammable objects, such as curtains or furniture. Always keep flammable objects at least three feet from heating equipment, and never leave space heaters unattended.
- Electrical malfunctions: Electrical fires can occur when electrical equipment is overloaded or damaged cords or wires touch flammable objects. Avoid overloading electrical outlets and extension cords, and never use frayed or damaged electrical cords. Contact an electrician if you suspect something is wrong with your wiring.
- Dryer Lint: Dryer lint is among the most flammable objects in a home. It also accumulates quickly in your dryer. Always empty the lint catcher in your dryer after each use and throw the lint away. Never leave lint lying on the floor, near outlets, heating equipment, etc.
- Smoking: Smoking materials, such as cigarettes, pipes, or cigars, can easily start a fire. It's best to smoke outside your home and use deep ashtrays to avoid a house fire.
- Candles: Candles are another significant cause of home fires. They can easily ignite nearby objects, such as curtains or furniture. Always blow out candles before leaving the room or going to sleep, and keep candles away from flammable objects.
Fire Safety Equipment You Need Inside Your Home
Having the right fire safety equipment can be the difference between life and death in a fire emergency. Smoke detectors are one of the most important pieces of equipment you can have in your home. They can detect smoke quickly, giving you warning to fight the fire or escape.
You want to have at least one smoke detector on each floor of your home. However, the more, the better. Ideally, you want one inside each bedroom, so everybody receives a proper alert when sleeping. Additionally, test your smoke detectors regularly and replace the batteries at least once a year.
It is also important to have fire extinguishers in your home. Fire extinguishers can help combat house fires before they become unmanageable and create significant damage and danger. There are different fire extinguishers for different types of fires, so make sure to choose the right extinguisher. Here’s a quick rundown of each type you generally find inside homes:
- Water extinguisher: Suitable for use on Class A fires, which involve solid materials such as wood, paper, or cloth. However, it should not be used on electrical fires or fires involving flammable liquids.
- Foam extinguisher: Suitable for Class A and B fires, which involve flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil, or paint. The foam helps to smother the fire and prevent it from spreading.
- CO2 extinguisher: Useful for electrical fires, as it does not leave a residue that could damage sensitive equipment. It can also extinguish Class B fires involving flammable liquids.
- Dry chemical extinguisher: Most common type of fire extinguisher in homes. Suitable for fires involving combustibles (Class A), flammable liquids (Class B), and electrical fires (Class C).
- Wet chemical extinguisher: Designed for cooking oils and fats (Class K fires). It works by cooling the fire and creating a barrier between the fuel and the oxygen.
It's important to note that the type of extinguisher used should match the type of fire. The ones more suitable in a business-specific setting were not listed. However, understand that using the wrong extinguisher can be dangerous or ineffective.
You also want to keep fire extinguishers in the kitchen, garage, near dryers, fireplaces, and any other areas where fires may be more likely to occur. Likewise, everyone in your home should know the location of each fire extinguisher, how to use them, and what to do if they cannot contain the fire.
Always Have a Home Fire Emergency Plan
Nobody expects a fire to happen in their home. But if one occurs, you and your family should be prepared and know how to act. Every second counts during an emergency, so essential to formulate a fire emergency plan with your family and discuss it with them.
A fire emergency plan should include identifying at least two exits from each room in your home, a designated meeting place outside your home, and practice drills with your family. Everyone in your home should know the fire escape plan and how to evacuate quickly and safely. They should also know if there is a lot of smoke, they should get as low as possible to avoid smoke inhalation.
Your fire emergency plan should also indicate where you will go to contact help. A nearby and trusted neighbor is generally a good option. If you live in a remote area, it’s smart to prepare an emergency supply kit with food, water, and first aid supplies. You should store the emergency kit somewhere outside the home, generally in a shed, barn, etc. Lastly, never go inside a burning building and wait for emergency responders to arrive. Even if you leave valuable inside, it isn’t worth risking your life to go and grab them.
With proper fire safety preparedness and guidance, you can prevent a fire emergency and ensure your family knows how to respond during one. At Vector Security, we believe everybody deserves to feel safe and secure in their own home and have fire safety solutions to ensure you’re protected. For more information, contact us today.