Fire with smoke over black background for fire safety tips article

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Important Fire Safety Tips

October 13, 2015News, Resources

When you think of October, what comes to mind? Perhaps falling leaves, cooler temperatures and Halloween. It’s also a good time to think about home fire safety.

October has long been a month where fire prevention has been a focus. Since 1922, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has observed Fire Protection Week during October. The NFPA estimates that an average of 357,000 home structure fires occur every year.

As Charter our Community is all about keeping your home safe and healthy, we’ve asked our partner Rebuilding Together to help us get the word out about fire safety. Read on below for some valuable fire safety tips.

Two women installing alarm on a ladder

U.S. Fire Administration

Install Smoke Alarms

Proper smoke alarm installation and maintenance is the first line of defense from potentially damaging and deadly home fires. Three out of five home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms.

You can pick up effective alarms at your local hardware store or retailer for less than $20. If you are unable to afford or install smoke detectors yourself, many local fire departments – as well as the American Red Cross’s Home Fire Preparedness Campaign – will install battery-operated alarms for community residents at no cost.

Smoke alarms should be installed in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home. Once installed, you should test each alarm in your home once a month.

Pressing the button should cause the alarm to beep. If it doesn’t activate, it is time to change the battery, or change out the alarm for a new one. Alarms should be replaced at least every 10 years.

 

Asian-American family reviewing fire escape plan

U.S. Fire Administration

Have a Plan

Having a home evacuation plan in the event of a fire is crucial. Fire and smoke spread quickly, so you need to act fast in the event of a home fire. Here are some ways to ensure that everyone in your home can quickly and calmly get to safety:

  • Have two ways out of each room of the house.
  • Make sure that windows open easily and that window screens can be removed and security bars opened in case windows need to be used for evacuation.
  • Make special considerations for children, older family members and individuals with disabilities.

Remember, practice makes perfect. It is recommended that you and other residents in your home practice your fire evacuation plan at least twice a year. Half of all fire deaths happen between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., when most people are asleep, so it is helpful to practice your evacuation plan in the dark.

 

Older Caucasian woman at cook top stirring food in skillet

U.S. Fire Administration

Practice Basic Home Fire Safety

Basic fire prevention techniques can save your home from severe damage. You can take small steps to help prevent home fires:

  • Don’t leave the kitchen unattended while cooking. More than two-thirds of home cooking fires start when food or other cooking materials catch fire.
  • Smoking in your home can be a severe fire hazard. If you choose to smoke in your home, be cautious of where you put out cigarette butts and where you place ashtrays. Furniture can be very flammable.
  • Replace frayed or damaged electrical wires and don’t run them under rugs or carpets.
  • Install outlet covers if small children live in your home.
  • Be sure to inspect woodstove pipes and chimneys once a year and do a monthly check for damage or obstructions that could block smoke from venting.

 

Smoke and fire detector Illustration of a smoke and fire detector in gray and red in at a ceiling

Bertold Werkmann/Shutterstock.com

Get Out Fast

If you suspect a fire in your home, don’t hesitate. Follow your home evacuation plan to ensure that you and your family get to safety. If you are unable to get out before the fire intensifies, follow these tips:

  • Get low. Smoke is toxic and collects along the ceiling first. If there is smoke obstructing your primary exit, try for another one.
  • Feel doorknobs before opening any doors. If it’s hot, don’t open it. Try for another exit. Open doors slowly. If there is heavy smoke or flames present, go to another exit.

If you are unable to get out of your home, close the doors to the room you are in and try to cover vents and cracks around the doors. Call 9-1-1 or your local fire department, describe to them where you are in the house and, if there is a window, signal for help with light-colored clothing or a flashlight.

We hope these fire prevention tips help you enjoy your home for years to come. For more fire safety ideas, be sure to check out:

United States Fire Administration

American Red Cross

National Fire Prevention Association

This article contains links to other websites for informational purposes only. These links do not imply endorsement by Charter Communications of the websites or their operators. Charter is not liable for the content of these linked websites. Your use of the information in this article is entirely at your own risk. Please seek the advice of professionals, as appropriate.