As we march into the colder fall and winter seasons, fire safety is essential for both business and homeowners to keep in mind. According to the National Safety Council, cooking and heating homes and buildings are the leading causes for fires and fire related injuries. Fortunately, according to the National Safety Council, over the past several decades, deaths from home fires in the U.S. have steadily gone down – from 5,200 in 1980 to 2,820 in 2018. Here are some tips to avoid house fires and business fires, and if the unexpected strikes, we’ll discuss how to create an action plan to mitigate losses and the impacts to your life.
Common Dangers to Avoid
1. How to prevent cooking fires and kitchen fires
Whether it’s in the kitchen of your home or the break room of your office, cooking is one of the leading causes of fires. Think about it, cooking can be a mix of open flames, gasses, and electromagnetic radiation whether you’re using microwaves, ovens, or even a crockpot. When cooking, you need to make fire safety a priority following some simple rules.
- Whenever you are cooking anything, you need to be alert. If you’re sleepy or under any influence, it’s a wise decision to not use a stovetop or oven.
- Never leave food unattended when grilling or boiling. By leaving, you aren’t aware of any heat changes in your food which could mean your food catching on fire. And no one wants to eat burn food anyway!
- If you’re using an oven, keep checking the food regularly and set two timers. Use your smartphone to set one timer, and the appliance you are using to set as well. That way, you are always aware of how much time has elapsed, even if you must leave the room.
- When not using your appliances, cover the knobs so children or pets cannot turn the appliance on by accident.
- Keep all flammable objects away from the appliances including napkins, paper towels, paper plates, and even dish towels.
2. How to prevent heating fires and electrical fires
It’s getting chilly out, so many are either cranking up their heat, getting out their space heaters from storage, or purchasing heaters. Before first use, make sure to thoroughly clean your heating unit and remove all dust. Dust can catch on fire or cause small sparks to catch other things on fire.
Now that you’ve done your thorough cleaning, here are some tips for being safe around heating devices.
- Much like cooking spaces, keep all flammable objects away from the heating devices. That includes papers, clothes, curtains, blankets, pillows, and even plastic objects. Hint: Even plastic can be flammable!
- Don’t leave your portable heaters unsupervised! Make sure if you are leaving the room to turn off your heater. If you’re using a fireplace, make sure you extinguish the fire, including all burning embers or turn off the gas line to the fireplace.
- NEVER use a portable heater on carpet or a rug. Carpet is highly flammable.
- Establish a rule that all individuals, including children and pets, are to stay at least three feet away from the heater and are not able to smoke when the heater is running.
- Make sure your heater has the safety feature that turns it off automatically if it’s knocked over.
3. The benefits of smoke detectors and fire alarms
According to the National Safety Council, 3 out of 5 fire-related deaths are in homes without smoke detectors. That means that smoke detectors and fire alarms offer some advantages like early detection to carbon monoxide or smoke. This reduces the risk of smoke inhalation.
- Here at Bates Security, our team of fire safety professionals will recommend that you install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms, and outside of sleeping areas.
- When one of our monitored smoke detectors is triggered, it will notify the fire department at the first sign of fire and will drastically minimize your losses. Response time matters in the event of a fire so maintaining a monitored fire alarm system is critical.
- Regularly test your alarms and replace the batteries annually!
Make and Execute Your Fire Safety Plan
Fire safety plans are crucial to surviving fires. Not only can fear flare up during a fire, but panic can as well, which can restrict your breathing as well as put you in the wrong places to escape. By developing a fire safety plan and practicing the plan, you are prepared. You know what to do. You’ll be able to get out of the burning building quickly and efficiently.
Developing a fire safety plan
- Always plan two ways to escape from each room. Fires can be unpredictable and can block your initial exit point. By planning for two locations to escape, you are prepared.
- Teach everyone how to stop, drop, and roll in case of clothes catching on fire.
- Make sure that all doors and windows leading outside open easily.
- If you are in a multi-story building, make sure you take the stairs instead of your elevator. Electricity will be knocked out in a fire and the elevator will get stuck. Stairs will be more physically taxing, but are more accessible and reliable in the case of a fire.
- Have a designated meeting place outside of the fire, preferable away from flammable objects like a tree.
- Know who is in your building and have a roll call. Access control systems keep track of who is in the building at once, so you can use the records from your system to make a roster to call out.
Let Us Help You Get Started
Now that you know how to prevent the leading causes of fire, and how to make and execute a safety plan, you are prepared for fire safety. To increase your safety, schedule a free consultation with one of our level IV NICET certified fire safety specialists to make sure your home or office is properly equipped with fire prevention devices.