Home fires are often easily preventable tragedies. Educating yourself and your family is the first step to preventing or surviving a household fire.
Installing smoke detectors, practicing a home evacuation plan, and learning proper use of a fire extinguisher are all easy and important steps every family should take. Below are some key fire safety tips:
* Install a minimum of one smoke detector outside sleeping areas and at least one per floor of your home.
* Test and clean your smoke detectors at least once a month and replace batteries twice each year.
* Keep a fire extinguisher on hand and know how to use it.
* Create and practice a home evacuation plan.
* Keep all exits clear of clutter.
* Check that windows open and close easily.
* There should be at least two exits from every room.
* Never smoke in bed or when drowsy.
* Keep space heaters at least 4 feet away from combustibles.
* If you have a fireplace keep a screen in place at all times, have the chimney checked and cleaned periodically.
* If a gas water heater is present, do not store flammable materials in the same area.
* Store flammable materials in the proper containers.
* Keep matches and lighters away from children.
* Talk to your children about fire safety.
* Install a carbon monoxide detector if your home has gas appliances or you park in an attached garage.
* Do not overload electrical outlets.
* Never leave burning candles unattended.
* Always stay in the kitchen when cooking.
* Keep towels and other flammable materials away from the stove.
Installing and maintaining working smoke detectors in your house is a vital part of keeping your home fire safe. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, sixty-five percent of reported home fire deaths occurred in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. In fact, an estimated 890 lives could be saved each year if all homes had working smoke alarms.
Nationwide, more than 4,000 people die in fires each year. Fire sprinklers save lives, reduce property loss, and can even help cut homeowners insurance premiums. Installing both smoke alarms and a fire sprinkler system reduces the risk of death in a home fire by 82% as compared to having neither.
This Fire Prevention Week, at a minimum, take time to make sure your family is safe:
* Make sure smoke alarms are working and everyone in your house responds to an alarm activation.
* Develop and practice a "home evacuation plan".
* Know two ways out of each room.
For more information on how to keep your family safe go to www.savannahfire.org. For information on fire safety presentations call 912-644-5957.