Even if you've taken all the preventative steps and have built a home to the highest safety standards, fire can still strike. However, you can put your mind at ease by following these five home fire prevention tips to lessen the likelihood of a fire. We’ve also outlined six tips to keep your home and family safe in the event a fire does occur.
5 Home Fire Prevention Tips
Preventing a fire from starting in the first place is the best way to protect your home and family. Fortunately, there's a lot you can do to lessen the chance of fire in your home.
1. Be Aware of Your Surroundings
- Do not leave candles burning unattended or around kids or pets.
- If you have a match or flame lit, be cautious about where you are and how you put out the flame.
- If you smoke, do so outside, and extinguish butts completely.
- Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children and pets.
- Unplug appliances, machinery, or equipment when not in use.
2. Give the Heater Some Space
- Keep heaters unplugged if they are not in use.
- Never leave your space heater on all night as this can start a fire or even lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Purchase a space heater that will automatically turn off if tipped over.
- Place heaters at least 3 feet away from anything flammable.
3. Store Chemicals Safely
- Keep all chemicals away from children.
- Store all chemicals in secure, closed containers.
- Keep any pool chemicals separate from other household chemicals.
- Gasoline should always be stored in a proper container with a 95% capacity to allow for expansion and be kept at least 50 feet away from an open flame.
4. Take Extra Care in the Kitchen
- Have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen; this is the room where most home fires start.
- Be sure not to leave the stove unattended, especially if you are cooking with oil and grease.
- Dispose of cooking oil and grease properly. Keep it in a closed container if you want to use it again.
- Do not wear loose clothing while cooking, and be sure to roll up long sleeves to keep them from catching fire.
- Keep the stove clear and clean, so grease and other flammables do not build up.
- Stay alert and do not use the stove if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
5. Use Fireplaces and Pits Responsibly
- Make sure an adult supervises all open fires.
- Have your fireplace chimney inspected and cleaned annually.
- Do not leave children and pets unattended when a fire is going.
- Surround your pit with noncombustible materials.
- Only burn wood that has been seasoned for at least six months and avoid composite wood as this may contain harmful chemicals.
- Have a screen for your fire pit or fireplace to control sparks.
- Keep firepits at least 20 feet away from any structure, trees, and/or debris.
- Make sure all fires are completely extinguished before you leave them.
Think of an imaginary circle (about a 10-foot zone) around the pit. The surrounding area should be a completely open space, clear of anything flammable.
6 Home Fire Preparation Tips
Many people are surprised to learn that a fire can still strike even in the most state-of-the-art, well-prepared home. No matter where you live, preparing your home and your family for the possibility of a fire is just as important as preventing one. Above all, make sure family members know how to contact your local fire department once they have gotten to safety.
1. Consider Sprinklers
- Think about installing a home sprinkler system. A well-planned system decreases the risk of the fire spreading rapidly by 80%.
2. Have a Home Fire Escape Plan
- Map the safest way to evacuate your home in the event of a fire.
- Make sure your whole household knows what to do in the event of a fire.
- Have a designated area for your family to gather as soon as they are out of the house.
- If you touch your doorknob and it is hot, there could be a fire in the hallway. Do not open that door. Find another exit!
- If you encounter smoke, stay close to the ground and crawl because the air is cleaner closer to the floor. Cover your nose and mouth with a cloth if possible.
- Smoke inhalation causes more injuries than burning. Even if you do not see flames, get out if you smell or see smoke.
- Do not attempt to save any objects—leave the building immediately.
- Do not reenter the house once you are out.
3. Install Smoke Alarms
- Have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home. If your detector is more than ten years old, it is time for a replacement.
- Test your smoke alarm once a month to make sure it is working correctly.
- Replace your smoke alarm batteries every six months.
4. Place Escape Ladders
- If your home has two or more levels, put an escape ladder in each sleeping area near the window with bedrooms on the upper floor.
- Know how to place and use the ladder.
- Make sure the windows can be opened, and the screen removed quickly.
5. Practice Family Fire Drills
- Teach children Stop, Drop, and Roll. If you are on fire, don’t run! Instead, Stop what you are doing, drop to the floor and cover your face, and roll on the floor until the fire is extinguished or until authorities arrive.
- Practice leaving your home by walking quickly from different parts of the house while it is light out and in the dark.
- Make drills less scary by timing your family and trying to beat your record without running.
- Try out the escape ladder.
6. Purchase and Maintain Fire Extinguishers
- Have at least one fire extinguisher in your home placed in or near the kitchen. If your home has multiple levels, place one on each level.
- Replace your fire extinguisher every 12 years or recharge after six years.
- If the fire is small, contained, and SAFE enough for you to be able to put it out on your own, remember PASS - Pull, Aim, Squeeze, and Sweep: Pull the pin, aim at the fire, squeeze the lever, then sweep from side to side.
Your Local McCoy's Has the Supplies You Need
Just like everyone in our Born-to-Build community, our families are our top priority. That's why we stock supplies that can help take care of them, even in a situation as scary as a fire.
We've got everything from fire extinguishers and batteries to space heaters that include a tip-over switch. If you need smoke detectors, we recommend a built-in carbon monoxide detector for additional protection.
Here at McCoy's, we have items to help you enjoy a controlled fire. We offer fire pits with a safety screen, flagstones and fire rings to create your own safe firepit, and fireproof brick for lining your firebox. Stop by your local McCoy's today, and we can help you with all your fire safety needs, whether it's from our wide array of products or just friendly support!