7 Fire Safety Tips for Your HomeOctober 8, 2019
Understanding and carefully considering all aspects of fire safety is important for every homeowner. Furthermore, when building a new home, homeowners are given a special opportunity to make sure that they “get-it-right” the first time around. New homes have the advantage of being constructed to the newest and most stringent building codes. Many of these codes serve to enhance the safety of the home and deter the possibility of a house fire. Even so, it is imperative to plan for the worst while hoping for the best, so that in the event that the unthinkable happens, everyone gets out safely! Here are several fire safety tips for your home that you can employ to help keep your loved ones safe in the event of a house fire:
1. Create a Fire Escape Plan
The first step in fire safety is creating a plan. This means that a detailed and systematic escape plan needs to be created for each room in the home. Consider the means of egress for each area in the house and have a viable back-up plan in place if the main route to safety is blocked by fire.
Fire escape plans should include considerations for how each family member will be accounted for, a designated meeting place, and how young or old loved ones, who may require assistance, will get out of the house.
2. Check and Maintain Smoke Detectors Regularly
Testing smoke detectors regularly should become part of your home maintenance regimen. As a rule, never remove batteries from alarms even when they are set off by cooking incidences that create smoke but offer no threat of a house fire. It is far too easy to forget that batteries have been disconnected and then alarms are rendered useless.
However, a routine check of the smoke detectors will ensure that batteries, which were disconnected for some reason, are discovered as quickly as possible. It’s good practice to purchase 10-year lithium batteries to use in smoke detectors. Doing so means that replacement does not need to occur as often and it also reduces the probability or frequency of dead batteries in detectors.
Another consideration when you are designing your new home is to have your smoke alarms hard-wired. Smoke detectors can then be linked via a “daisy-chain” system so that an alarm that is triggered in one room can trigger alarms in bedrooms where sleeping household members may not be roused by an alarm on a different level of the home. Hard-wired alarms can also feed to home security centers where companies monitor the home and can alert the appropriate first responders if there is a house fire.
3. Keep Fire Extinguishers in Each Major Room
Another one of the important fire safety tips for your home is to keep fire extinguishers in each major room. Many homes don’t have any fire extinguishers let alone one in each room. However, taking this step can prove to be the difference in having some fire or smoke damage to a portion of the home or experiencing a total loss of the dwelling.
The moments it takes to run and grab the fire extinguisher in another room may be the difference in saving the structure or the lives in it or not. Additionally, depending on the severity and location of the fire, it may not even be possible to retrieve a fire extinguisher from another room, so it is important to have them placed throughout the whole house and readily accessible.
4. Place Fire Escape Ladders in Second-Story Rooms
Fire escape ladders should be placed in the second- or third-story rooms of the home. This is especially important for areas, such as bedrooms, that have only one means of entrance and exit.
A jump from a second-story window or higher can easily leave a person severely injured or worse. Young children are especially reliant on a safe means to get to ground level and fire escape ladders will provide them with this necessary, secondary means of egress.
5. Have Your Chimney Cleaned and Inspected Regularly
Regular chimney cleaning and inspection is important for fire prevention. Dirty or blocked chimneys are one of the leading culprits causing dwelling fires. Chimneys connected to wood-burning fireplaces are susceptible to soot or tar build-up, especially depending on the type of wood that is most commonly burnt.
This build-up can ignite if the fire is hot enough. Birds and animals can also bring debris into a chimney which can partially block the flue. For these reasons, it is important to get chimneys cleaned before they are used for the season. And, in cases of heavy use, it may be wise to get them cleaned even more frequently.
6. Clear Brush and Debris From Around the Home
Clearing dead brush or other types of flammable debris away from the exterior of the home doesn’t necessarily prevent a house fire, but it can help to reduce the amount of fuel that is around the structure.
Especially in rural areas, where homeowners may be allowed to burn brush or leaves, it is important to keep the outside of the home clear of any additional materials that can ignite. Rogue sparks from controlled brush fires or even burning leaves carried by the wind can lead to house fires if they land on dry grasses or other flammable materials lying close to the home.
7. Teach the Basics of Fire Safety to Everyone in the Home
It is also important to review the basics of fire safety with every member of the household. Review your fire escape plan with children or elderly household members. Make sure that everyone knows the location of fire extinguishers and how to use them in the event of a fire.
Additionally, stress the importance of keeping smoke detectors in a state of active operation to everyone and be sure that extra care is always taken with interior fireplaces as well as external fire pits. It’s also important to touch on general fire prevention and safety. Proper education is the building block to overall fire safety.
Although reviewing fire safety procedures when your family moves into your new home might not be as exciting as planning the design and décor of the house, be assured that it is one of the most important parts of homeownership. Proper education and protocol can keep you and your family from becoming a statistic. By taking the appropriate steps and implementing fire safety tips for your home, you have a far better chance of both avoiding a dwelling fire altogether and getting everyone out safely if one does occur!
The fire safety considerations pertaining to your dream home are important to us at Custom Home Group and we would love to discuss designing a home that is both beautiful and safe with you. If you’re ready for a custom home, give us a call at 717-284-4090 to get the conversation started.