If you’re here you’ve probably read our last article, ‘5 easy and cheap things to make your home safer from fire‘. Well here are five more important tips to help you keep yourself, family, and pet safe.
1: Don’t use portable heaters as a long term solution. They are prone to failure, becoming obstructed, and are generally less safe than a centralized system. This includes electric space heaters, as well.
2: Cooking: Don’t go to water for oil fires. Smother it with a lid or use your extinguisher (which you have already practiced with, right?), but remember don’t risk injury. Call 911 and leave if there is ANY doubt as to whether you can extinguish the fire.
3: Clear dead brush and grass from around your home. Have some defensible space around your home especially if you live in the wilderness-urban interface.
4: Keep items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as space heaters.
5: Beware of this combination: take extra care not to forget to extinguish fire sources before sleep.
By far the single greatest contributing ‘human factor’ to house fire fatalities was sleep (source). So remember, sleep and heat (candles, fireplace, cigarettes) don’t mix! Even if the candle is upright when you go to sleep, the cat could knock it over, or anything that may happen, might happen. Possible impairment by alcohol also played a key role in fatalities.
6: Have a smoker in the house? Maybe send them outside.
This one is a freebie because your difficulty level in accomplishing this may vary wildly. However, the payoff could be enormous. If the person you live with smokes inside and you already hate it, use this article as a gentle way of showing them you care about fire prevention.
“In 2011, an estimated 17,600 smoking-material home structure fires caused 490 civilian deaths (19% of all home structure fire deaths), 1,370 civilian injuries and $516 million in direct property damage. The other 72,400 smoking-material fires in 2011 were mostly outdoor fires (60,200 fires in trash, vegetation and other outdoor combustibles).” From the NFPA website. This is with the new fire resistant cigarettes that first appeared in the early 2000s!