Home fires can be devastating in terms of property loss, injury, and even death. The good news is that most home fires can be prevented or the damage can be minimized if the proper precautions are taken.
- Install smoke alarms and make sure to change the batteries every six months
Install smoke alarms in every bedroom and outside of all sleeping areas, but keep smoke alarms at least 10 feet away from all kitchens to prevent false alarms. Smoke alarms should also be in the basement. Link together your smoke alarms, so that when one sounds, they all do. Test all smoke alarms once per month and replace all alarms after ten years.
- Know proper extinguishing methods
Keep fire extinguishers and fire blankets near appliances that are likely to start a fire (stoves, dryers, toaster ovens, etc. To put out a fire, Remove the fuel (Starvation), the heat (Cooling), or the oxygen (Smothering). Then, Look for the nearest fire extinguisher. It should be classified by one or more of these classifications: "A" (wood, trash, paper), "B" (oil, gas), "C" (electrical), "D" (metals), and "K" (kitchen). Look for one that has a "C" on it. Use the acronym "PASS" to operate the fire extinguisher. (P)ull the pin, (A)im the hose or nozzle at the base (bottom) of the fire, (S)queeze the handles, (S)weep the hose side to side.
Once you are done extinguishing the fire to the best of your abilities, call 911. Smoldering items can still reignite and the fire department can properly stop the fire.
- Talk with family members about a fire escape plan and practice it twice a year
It’s best to be prepared in case of emergency. Talk with your family members about home evacuation routes and how to behave in a fire. You should always have an escape plan that shows two ways out of a room. You should also have a safe meeting place outside of the home that is known by all family members. Teach children and other family members to stay low to avoid smoke inhalation, stop, drop, and roll if clothes catch on fire.
- Practice safe cooking methods
When cooking, make sure that the cooking area is free of flammable items. You should also never leave cooking food unattended, and pot handles should always be turned to toward the back of the stove. One common form of cooking related fires are grease fires. Grease fires should cannot be extinguished by water, and attempting to do so may make them worse. Instead, try smothering the fire with a metal lid (not a glass one as it can shatter), pouring baking soda on the grease, or using a class B dry chemical fire extinguisher.
- Follow Electrical and Appliance best practices
You should always make sure that any and all electrical cords in your home are well-maintained, and not cut or frayed. All outlets in the home should not feel warm to the touch. If this happens, make sure to call a landlord or an electrician. When using the dryer, clean out the lint vents.
- Don’t Leave Candles Burning
If you are lighting candles in your home, always make sure they are in a sturdy, fire-proof container that willo not be tipped over, and are kept out of reach of children and pets. Before going to bed, make sure all candles are extinguished.
By following these tips, you can decrease the negative impacts of a home fire. If a fire does start in your house, be sure to dial 911 and get all family members to safety.
If you or a family member has been injured in as a result of a fire, call the Long Island personal injury lawyers at The Odierno Law Firm, P.C. for a free case evaluation.