There are many steps you can take to protect your family and home from the destruction of a fire. Develop an escape plan for the family and practice it with your children to have a better chance of escaping the fire unscathed and alive.
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What can you do right now?
If there are things you do in advance, you have a better chance of preventing a fire and surviving. One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself from a serious fire is to install and regularly test an alarm system. In the UK, a working fire alarm is a legal requirement.
Fire reports continue to show that a working smoke detector can reduce the chance of dying in a fire by 50%. Walk around your house and install a required smoke detector in your kitchen or bedroom and test everyone to see if it works.
What else can I do to stay safe?
Practice fire drills in the dark before and after a smoke alarm is triggered, a common condition experienced by those who have been in a house fire. Practice fire drills at night when the fire alarm sounds and the children are asleep to see if the alarm is loud enough to wake them up.
Install smoke detectors in all bedrooms and floors of your home, even in the basement.
The exercise is also a good time to remind parents to change the batteries on the smoke detector batteries. A good rule of thumb for house fire drills is to see if the family can get out of the house quickly, use an escape route and meet at the same location in 3 minutes.
The National Fire Prevention Association advises people to draw up an escape plan with specific exits and meeting points.
Outdoor restrictions matter too!
Choose a location for a campfire at a safe distance from fuel or debris that could catch fire. Keep tires inflated to avoid starting a vehicle in an area with high brittle grass, among other things, to reduce the risk of fire. Avoid pulling tools or chains in the rear, which can cause sparks and cause a fire in dry areas.
Flammable products such as matches, lighters and candles should be locked away from children and kept out of reach. Burn logs from the fireplace or have a chimney shade to protect yourself from sparks. Develop multiple fire safety plans for each room in the house and practice them with your family.
Flammable materials should be stored.
Make sure that items such as clothing and blankets are not covered and that the lights are off. If there is smoke in the air, stay close to the ground and away from the head to reduce the inhalation load.
If you can, take a piece of clothing or a towel and put it over your mouth so you don’t inhale the smoke. A person’s clothing can accidentally catch fire in a fire, like stepping on a candle.
It is a crime to disable fire alarms.
Manipulating covers or disabling fire alarms is a criminal offence punishable by prison, fines and university disciplinary action. Restricting home contents insurance can help you recover financial losses caused by sudden, accidental and difficult to predict or prevent breakdowns.
If you are like most homeowners, you may never need to claim on your insurance, but no one is immune from the risk of fire.
What should you do going forward?
Once the fire protection is complete, stay in your room if you cannot leave the building due to smoke or fire. Do not manipulate fire systems or devices such as smoke detectors, chin-up stations or fire extinguishers.
Show them the floor plan of your house so that the children can imagine where they would go in the event of a fire. Have a meeting place outside your house, perhaps gathered under a tree, under its structure or on the porch of your neighbor.
If there is a window in a room through which you cannot escape, open it and stand in front of it. If you can’t get out because the fire or smoke is blocking an escape route, you might want to scream for help. They can also tell fire and rescue workers that pets are in the house and they may be able to help.
About the Author:
Prior to becoming an online article writer for Technical Writers, Cooper took the opportunity to explore the digital world with a range of academic and health and safety training courses. His first hand experience within the tech industry, in addition to his degree in English Literature, cemented his career in creating content regarding all things marketing and technology.