This year, Fire Prevention Week runs October 7 to 13. It’s a great time to review your fire safety strategy for your home and business. Here are some of the most helpful tips suggested by fire prevention agencies.
Check Smoke Alarms
The National Fire Protection Association found a quarter of all deaths from fires started in the bedroom. Consequently, ensure you have smoke alarms in and outside of all bedrooms and on every level of your home.
All too often, we install smoke detectors and only change the batteries when they’re beeping or flashing. The Red Cross suggests testing batteries monthly.
Consider a Sprinkler System
Whether it’s a business or home, a fire sprinkler system can minimize damage and sometimes extinguish a fire long before the fire department can arrive. They can buy occupants time to escape, make conditions safer for firefighters, and can save lives.
They’re more common in commercial buildings, but if you’re remodeling or building a new home it’s a good safety upgrade. The International Residential Code Fire Sprinkler Coalition of many fire chiefs and marshals, building code officials and other public safety groups want to see sprinklers installed in all new home construction, because of their benefits. Insurers recognize their effectiveness and most offer substantial discounts for sprinkler systems too.
Cooking Is The Number 1 Cause of Fires
The U.S. Fire Administration reports 33.7% of residential and 29.9% of commercial fires are cooking related. Dirty or neglected equipment, excessive heat, and unattended food can all lead to fires.
A lack of fire extinguishers and training can mean an uncontrollable fire, causing excessive damage, injuries, and sometimes death.
Sadly, carelessness is also a leading cause of residential and commercial fires. People place flammable materials near stoves or heaters, leave burning candles unattended, leave spilt solvents or fuels, keep matches or lighters within children’s reach, plug too many cords into cords or outlets, or forget about a burning cigarette.
All it takes is a moment of carelessness to start a fire, so think before you walk away. Move the tea towel away from the burner, blow out the candle, mop up spills, place the matches on a high shelf, buy a fused power bar, and snuff out that cigarette. If you notice a frayed electrical cord or cracked outlet, don’t ignore it.
Create an Escape Plan
Businesses and households need an escape plan so everyone understands what to do if a fire breaks out. A good plan includes alternative routes if people are unable to exit along the primary route due to smoke or fire.
Practice the plan at least twice annually and post a diagram where everyone can see it. Don’t forget to take extra measures such as installing a window ladder if there’s only one stairwell from an upper level.
Establish a Meeting Place
Everyone also needs to know where to go once they’re out of the building. Designate a spot well away from the structure and ensure everyone’s accounted for. Stay outside and call 9-1-1. Don’t go back inside to collect belongings or because you think it’s safe. Wait until fire officials give you instructions.
Check Insurance Coverage
If you haven’t done an insurance review recently, talk to your insurance agent or broker. It only takes a few minutes, but it aligns your coverage with your needs so if you do experience a loss from fire you’re well-protected.
We all accumulate items and the value of property usually rises. The last thing you want to discover is that you’re underinsured or don’t have coverage at all for valuable items.