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House Fire Prevention Tips

Every 86 seconds, a fire department in the United States responds to a fire somewhere in the nation. From unattended cooking to faulty heating equipment and electrical malfunction to careless smoking, home fires can occur for a variety of reasons—but most home fires are preventable.

Thankfully, keeping your family and your home safe is as simple as following some basic fire prevention tips—and we’ve done all the work for you. Stay with us as we cover all the steps you can take to reduce your risk of home fires and keep your family safe in the event of an emergency.

Install Fire Protection Safety Equipment

Fully operational smoke detectors are your best early warning system in the event of fire—and a must for a quick and safe evacuation. In fact, the majority of home fire deaths occur during the night while people are sleeping—but smoke alarms can reduce the risk of death in a home fire by 50 percent.

Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. The National Fire Protection Association strongly encourages interconnected smoke alarms throughout the home because when one sounds, they all sound, alerting the entire household. You can also purchase a smoke detector with a full home security system and have it monitored through a provider’s monitoring center. When choosing the best smoke alarm, look for one that meets the Underwriters Laboratories Standard with the UL label on the packaging. It’s also important to check the date of manufacture printed on the back of the detector. Devices lose their sensitivity over time, so the newer the detector the safer it will be. Smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years. You may also want to consider installing an automatic fire sprinkler system for extra peace of mind. 

Be Safe With Electricity and Appliances

Electrical malfunctions are one of the leading causes of home fires. If you need to make any electrical changes in your home, always hire a qualified electrician to do the job. Here are some other electricity safety tips for fire prevention in the home:

  • Avoid using space heaters, as heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fire deaths. If you must use them, keep them at least three feet away from any other objects, prevent children and pets from getting near them, and turn them off when you leave home or go to sleep.
  • Check electrical cords regularly, and make sure they do not run across doorways or under rugs where they could be damaged. Replace any electrical cord that is cracked or frayed. 
  • Limit the number of plugs you have in an electrical outlet or power strip. Overloading an electrical outlet can not only trip a breaker, but it could also start a fire. 
  • If an electric appliance smokes or has an unusual smell, unplug it immediately, then have it replaced or serviced before using it again. 
  • Only use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage for each lamp.

Use Caution in the Kitchen 

Always stay in the kitchen when you have food in the oven or on the stove. Deep fryers and other frying equipment can be especially dangerous when it comes to potential fires in the home. If you have to leave the room—even for just a moment—turn off the stove. Make sure to keep your cooking area free of combustible materials. Keep anything that can catch fire—including food packaging or oven mitts and towels—away from your stovetop. Get in the habit of turning the handles of pots and pans toward the back of the stove so that you or someone else won’t accidentally bump them. Finally, if grease catches fire in a pan, drop a lid down onto the pan to smother the flames and immediately turn off the heat source. Keep the lid on until the pan has completely cooled. 

Learn How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

If a fire breaks out in your home, knowing how to use your fire extinguisher could mean the difference between inconvenience and catastrophe. After all, fire extinguishers are helpful for putting out small fires before they spread, such as a common grease fire in the kitchen. For proper training, you can contact your local fire department. You can also follow the steps below—and review them with the whole family—to ensure your home is safe in the event of an emergency.

It can be difficult to think clearly during an emergency. That’s why the US Fire Administration has come up with a simple acronym to help you recall the steps involved in operating your fire extinguisher. When extinguishing a fire, remember the word PASS:

  • P: Pull the pin on the fire extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you
  • A: Aim the extinguisher nozzle low, pointing toward the base of the fire.
  • S: Squeeze the handle slowly to discharge the extinguisher.
  • S: Sweep the nozzle from side to side. Keep the fire extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire and move it from back and forth until the flames are extinguished.

Avoid Smoking in the House

It may seem like common sense to reserve smoking for the outdoors only, but smoking in the home—including cigarettes, pipes, and cigars—caused an annual average of 17,200 home structure fires and 570 deaths. Protect your home from an easily preventable calamity by enforcing a no-smoking rule inside for both family and guests. 

Get Peace of Mind With Home Insurance that Covers Fire Damage

Fire prevention is one of the best ways to keep your home and family safe from catastrophe 

Unfortunately, not all disasters can be prevented. That’s why, when it comes to home safety, nothing offers you as much protection as a reliable home insurance policy—and we’re here to help get you covered. 

Best of all, with our immediate home fire insurance quotes you can enroll and enjoy the peace of mind that your home is protected—all in a matter of minutes. Get yours today and rest easy knowing that if disaster strikes, your home and family are prepared and protected.

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