October is fire prevention month! No detail is too small when it comes to preventing fires and burn injuries. And as colder weather approaches, people will be spending more time indoors at home where it’s warm – but is it safe?
According to the United States Fire Administration, part of the Department of Homeland Security, residential fires occur more often during cold weather months (primarily December through February) due to portable or area heating equipment. However, the USFA also reports home cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fires and related injuries and that most fire-related deaths are from residential fires ignited by cigarettes and other smoking materials.
There are many circumstances that may spark a fire, that’s why it’s vital to properly prepare your home to avoid a potential catastrophe.
“Even if you think you’ve got all your bases covered on fire safety in your home, it’s still a good idea to run through a checklist from time to time just to make sure,” says Andrew McCabe of McCabe Group Insurance. “Taking the time to protect you and your family from a home fire can be one of the most important tasks you’ll do all year. An ounce of prevention can really make a huge difference.”
McCabe Group Insurance recommends the following fire safety tips:
Check the batteries in your smoke detectors often. Keep extra batteries on hand and replace them every six months – usually around daylight savings time – when you change your clocks.
Check your smoke detectors monthly. Replace any smoke detectors that are more than 10 years old. Make sure everyone in the house recognizes the piercing sound as a call to escape the building quickly.
Position smoke detectors wisely. Place one smoke detector on every level of your home and near areas where you and your family sleep.
Position smoke detectors away from heating and cooling ducts and at least six inches from where walls and ceilings meet.
Keep fire extinguishers handy, with at least one fire extinguisher per floor. Keep extra fire extinguishers near the kitchen, garage, laundry room, and workshop.
Talk with your family about what to do in case a fire breaks out. Have at least two ways out of your house, and be sure everyone in the family knows them. Create a fire safety plan, with a designated meeting place, and practice the plan regularly.
For consumers in high-rise buildings:
Go down the window fire escape if your building has one.
If your building does not have a window fire escape:
1) Feel the door to the hall with the back of your hand. If it is hot, put a wet towel along the floor crack to keep smoke out. Go to the window and wave a colorful cloth to catch the attention of firefighters.
2) If the door to the hall does not feel hot, leave the apartment and go down the nearest stairs. In the event of a fire, never take an elevator. If the power in the burning building fails, you could become trapped.
If the hall is filled with smoke, get down close to the floor and crawl to the nearest stairs. You will inhale less smoke by staying low.
For more information on this and other safety topics, contact McCabe Group at 414-326-9337.