10 Tips for Better Fire Safety
1) Install and Maintain Smoke Detectors
Most fire deaths and injuries occur at night when people are sleeping. Smoke and toxic gases kill quickly. Smoke detectors warn you of the presence of smoke before it reaches you.
Smoke detectors should be installed on each level of a home, and especially outside of bedrooms. They should be tested weekly, and the batteries should be replaced annually, even if the batteries still work. Never take the batteries out of a smoke detector to use in another appliance.
2) Plan Your Escape, and Practice It
If a fire occurs in your home, you won’t have time to think about the best escape route. You and your family should draw a diagram of your home showing all exits. Plan two ways out of every room. (If a fire or smoke blocks one exit, you will still have a safe way out.) Have a designated meeting place outside where the family can gather.
If you live in an apartment, use the stairs. You might get trapped in an elevator. Have fire ladders available to exit through the windows if necessary.
Practice your escape plan twice a year.
3) Watch Out for Smokers
Tens of thousands of home fires start every year because of carelessly discarded cigarettes. Have large, deep ashtrays for smokers, and put water on the butts for a minute or two before you put them in the trash. Never smoke in bed.
4) Kids and Matches Don’t Mix
Matches are dangerous for children. Store smoking materials were kids can’t reach them. Teach children that matches and lighters are tools for adults, and not for kids to play with.
5) Give Heaters Space
Space heaters should be at least three feet from anything that might catch on fire, like curtains, furniture or bedding. Never leave heaters on when you leave the house.
6) Be a Cautious Cook
Always keep children out of the kitchen when you’re cooking. Keep pot handles turned toward the back of the stove so they don’t get knocked off. If a fire starts in a pan, slide a lid over the edge of the pan, and turn off the heat.
7) Use Electricity Safely
Replace any frayed or damaged electrical cords. If an appliance smells like it is burning, unplug it immediately and have it repaired. Never overload electrical outlets, and never run an electrical cord under a rug.
8) Crawl Low Under Smoke
If you get caught in a smoke-filled room, get down on your hands and knees and crawl to the nearest exit. The cleanest air will be several inches from the floor.
9) Stop, Drop, Roll
If your clothes catch on fire, don’t run! Stop where you are, drop to the ground, and roll over and over. Cover your face with your hands to protect your face and lungs.
10) Cool the Burn
If you do receive a burn, run cool water on the burned area for 10 minutes. This minimizes the severity of the burn, and eases the pain. Never put oils, butter or salve on a burn. This only traps in the heat and makes the burn worse. It also invites infection. Seek medical attention immediately.