Fire safety, emergency plans


Smoke Detectors – Safety and Maintenance

Smoke detector taken apart to show inner compartments and maintenance techniquesSmoke Detector Maintenance

Studies have shown that the deaths caused by home fires are twice higher in homes without smoke detectors compared to the homes that have them. The trick behind the fire detectors is that smoke spreads faster than fire; thus, you can get out early when the alarm alerts you. Since the closed doors slow the spread of heat, smoke, and fire, install the detectors in all the sleeping rooms and on every section of your home including the hallways. Remember also that the detectors need to be cleaned and regularly maintained to work efficiently. The following tips are essential when maintaining them.

Keep the Smoke Detectors Clean
Contaminants and dust affect the functioning of the smoke detectors; hence, ensure that you clean them more than two times a year. Use the long upholstery wand on the vacuum cleaner to remove cobwebs and dust that have settled on the detectors. Vacuum-clean the smoke detectors’ interior parts also by following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Replace the Batteries Regularly
Keep a fixed date for replacing the batteries in the smoke detectors instead of waiting until they stop working. For consistency, choose a time that you can easily remember such as the one with personal significance. You may decide to replace them on your birthday or that of a family member, or when celebrating any other anniversary.

The smoke detectors will not last for a long time; therefore, apart from the battery changes and regular cleaning, also replace the detectors every ten years. If you have lived in your current home for less than ten years and you are not sure of the existing smoke detectors, replace them immediately instead of making an assumption.

Test the Smoke Detectors Every Month
Press the test buttons of your household smoke detectors every month to know if they are working well. If this method is too easy and need an additional assurance measure, then test the alarms by using the real smoke. With this method, you can light a candle and blow it out then hold it some inches under the detector. If the alarm sounds, then you are sure that they are functioning as expected.

Investigate Faulty Smoke Detectors
Sometimes, a smoke alarm can sound even when there is no smoke around it. In such instances, do not stop the alarm; instead, try to find out what caused the alarm to go off. It could be that the smoke detector is near the bathroom or kitchen where steam and fumes can make it go off even when there is no risk of fire. You can solve this by relocating the detector away from the bathroom or kitchen. If the false alarm recurs, however, then the smoke alarm has a problem and should be replaced.

Installing fire detectors in your home is one of the best ways of ensuring the safety of your family members. Keep a close eye also on each smoke alarm to ensure their efficient functioning. Nevertheless, having the smoke detectors does not eliminate the need for other preventive measures and proper planning that can reduce the chances of fire outbreak.

Fire Safety Tip of the Month – Interior of your Property

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As a homeowner, you must think about fire safety in order to protect your family and your property. 

1: Have Several Smoke Detectors Inside Your Home

One of the best ways to protect your family is to have several smoke detectors inside your home. Install a smoke detector near the kitchen along with additional areas such as next to a fireplace or in the hallways next to bedrooms. To have emergency lighting during a fire, select smoke detectors that have battery-operated lights so that you can find exits quickly. Make sure to check the batteries in your home’s smoke detectors at least once each month. 

2: Have Practice Fire Drills For Your Family

Arrange a practice fire drill for your family occasionally so that everyone will know where the emergency exits are located. Before having a fire drill, post an escape plan in several places inside your home. In some cases, an exit is blocked by flames or smoke, and everyone must understand alternate escape routes, including windows. If you have a large home with a complicated structure, then mark exits with small signs to help everyone find doorways, windows or stairways. 

3: Inspect the Interior and Exterior of Your Home

It is imperative to inspect the exterior and interior of your home periodically to find potential fire risks. Some of the things to look for include having curtains located near stoves or fireplaces that can catch on fire when the wind blows the fabric near to flames or burners. If you have trees on your property, then it is essential to keep the long branches trimmed away from electrical power lines or your home’s venting system to prevent a fire from occurring. Contact a professional tree-trimming company to have branches cut so that the trees still look beautiful but are no longer a hazard. 

4: Use Extra Care In the Kitchen

The majority of home fires begin in the kitchen, and this is often caused by carelessness. Keep oven mitts and kitchen towels away from the burners on a stovetop. Make sure to stay near a stove while preparing food rather than leaving the room. Understand how to extinguish a grease fire properly with a lid or baking soda instead of water. Don’t permit your children to use a stove unless they are supervised closely by an adult. 

5: Keep Combustible Materials Away From Heat Sources

Never store combustible items near heat sources to prevent explosions that will lead to a fire. Combustible and dangerous items include containers of gasoline, cleansers and nail polish remover. If these items are exposed to extreme heat or flames, then the liquids will explode, leading to a fire that spreads quickly. 

6: Watch Burning Candles To Prevent a Dangerous Fire

Today, most homes have candles, but you must use caution while lighting and burning these items. Only adults should light a candle, and make sure that it is in a safe container that is away from flammable materials. To avoid a disaster that can lead to a large home fire, keep your family pets and children away from a burning candle. 

7: Understand What To Do If Your Clothes or Hair Are On Fire

Teach everyone in your family what to do if their hair or clothes catch on fire while they are cooking in the kitchen or standing near a fireplace. The stop, drop and roll technique is something that you and your children should practice after a fire drill. 

Monitor Fire Safety Frequently 

To prevent dangerous situations, make sure to monitor your home’s fire safety standards frequently. 

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