House fires cause over $7 billion in damages every year according to the American Red Cross, and the unfortunate fact is that most can be prevented.
Conducting regular fire safety checks and knowing what to do in the event of a fire can help prevent you from becoming a part of that statistic.
Below are some of the most important preventative steps you can take.
Test Your Smoke Alarms and Sprinkler Systems
It’s all well and good having smoke alarms and sprinkler systems in your home, but if they’re not working properly, they’re going to be pretty much useless in the event of a house fire. Both smoke alarms and fire sprinkler systems should be tested periodically to ensure they are in good working order. Most smoke alarms beep when the batteries need replacing, and you can hire fire alarm engineers to test your sprinkler systems and ensure they are set up correctly.
Inspect Your Heating Sources
Whether you use gas or electric, or another method of heating your home, you’ll want to ensure your systems are inspected on an annual basis. Space heaters are one of the main causes of house fires and these should be inspected both before and after use for damage or deterioration. And, when in use, ensure they are in an open, ventilated space, at least three feet away from anything flammable.
Don’t Leave Your Stove Unattended
Over 50% of house fires are caused by cooking. One of the easiest ways to prevent this from happening in your property is to ensure you remain by your stove while it is turned on. If you do have to leave the room, ensure you remove the pan from the griddle first. In addition, it’s important that you don’t have anything flammable located near your stove. This includes curtains, oven mitts, and towels, all of which could catch fire without warning. More cooking-related fire safety tips can be found here.
Store Flammable Products Correctly
Aerosols, gas lighters, and a wide range of household cleaners are flammable and could become dangerous if not stored correctly. It is recommended that you keep these in a secured, dark space as opposed to leaving them in sunlight or in an area that gets hot. It’s wise to do this if you have children especially. Also, be careful with candles. These should never be left unattended and should be placed away from combustible items like blankets.
Keep Fire Extinguishers Handy
Finally, it can also be a good idea to invest in some fire extinguishers for your property. Water is not the best solution for every kind of fire, and could actually make matters worse. Place these in the most ‘at-risk’ areas of your home, such as in the kitchen and near your fireplace. Ensure you know how to use them correctly and that they are not seen as toys by the younger members of your family.
A house fire can be devastating but if you keep the above preventative advice in mind, you shouldn’t find yourself ending up a statistic.