Fire loss can happen to any home or business at any time. According to the National Fire Protection Association, on average, U.S. fire departments respond to 1 home fire every 88 seconds. These fires are responsible for thousands of deaths, hundreds of thousands of injuries and billions of dollars in direct damage.
While there is no 100% fool-proof way to avoid disaster, preparing your home or business and educating your family about fire-loss and prevention can drastically reduce the risk of property damage, serious injury and even death. Protect your family, home and business with these 4 fire safety tips from The Law Offices of William T. Kennedy, P.C.
1. Plan Ahead
Knowing what to do in the event of an emergency can mean the difference between life and death. Talk to your family or employees about what to do in case of a fire and draw out a floor plan. Have 2 ways to exit each room and keep these exits free of clutter. Remember, a small flame can turn into a huge fire in about 30 seconds; if this happens, keep low to the ground when escaping to avoid inhaling the smoke. Establish some rules and a meeting place away from the home or building. Decide who will assist any children or elderly members of your group and be sure that once you exit your home or office, you do not re-enter. Choose a place for everyone to meet in front of your home or office so when help arrives, they know you are out of the building. Last but not least; practice your escape plan. Run drills at different times of the day to ensure you are prepared regardless of the time or weather and create a safety checklist.
2. Identify Hidden Dangers
Our homes and offices are often plagued with fire hazards hiding in plain sight. Identifying these hazards is a crucial part of fire safety. Some of the most common fires are kitchen fires, electrical fires, heater fires and smoking related fires.
Kitchen fires are the most common because you have water, grease, fire and gas all in one place. Always make sure your cooking area is free from any items that may catch fire, this means debris as well. Make sure your stove and hood is clean and properly vented. Never leave pots, pans or ovens unattended. Inspect and put away any electrical appliances you may use in the kitchen.
Electrical Fires can be caused by damaged or improperly used appliances and old or faulty wiring. Always be sure to plug both large and small appliances into wall outlets; if needed use a circuit-protected multi-prong adapter for additional outlets. Never run cords under rugs and be sure to properly discard any appliances with cords that are damaged in any way.
Heating fires occur when space heaters are placed too close to other items and when chimneys, furnaces and barbecue grills are not properly kept. When purchasing a space heater, be sure that there is an auto-off option. The coils of your space heater will ignite anything kept too close, so be sure to keep your heater at least 3 feet away from your furniture, clothing, and anything else that can catch fire. Never use an extension cord with your space heater. Chimneys, furnaces and barbecue grills should be cleaned regularly and inspected before each use. Any ashes from your fireplace or grill should be placed outside in a covered metal container far away from anything else that can catch fire.
Smoking-related fires usually start when embers from cigarettes ignite on clothes, furniture or trash and are responsible for over 1,000 deaths every year. Avoid smoking in your home, and be sure that any family members who do smoke use ashtrays that are large, deep and kept far away from anything that can catch fire. These ashtrays should always be emptied into a container that will not burn.
3. Know Your Extinguishers and How to Use Them
As long as locating a fire extinguisher does not put your safety at greater risk, you should always be ready to use one. Pull the pin, aim the nozzle at the base of the fire, squeeze the trigger and sweep the nozzle from side to side until the fire is put out. Below is a quick breakdown of the different types of fire extinguishers:
- Type A- Ordinary combustibles (wood, plastic, paper, etc.)
- Type B- Flammable liquids (gas, oil, etc.)
- Type C- Electrical equipment (tools & appliances)
- Type D- Combustible metals (this is rare and usually only found in factories that work with these specific metals)
- Type K- Combustible cooking liquids (animal oils, vegetable oils, fats, etc.)
4. Invest in Extra Protection
While regular battery powered smoke alarms are common and good to have, it is always best to invest in an alarm system monitored by a company that can connect to your local authorities. Be sure to place an alarm on each level of the home or office, inside and outside of each room. Test and clean alarms monthly and replace every 10 years.
Preparation is Key
You now have everything you need to create your fire safety plan. You are familiar with the different causes of common fires and know what to look for; you even have a safety checklist! Now what do you do if a fire has damaged or destroyed your home or business?
When Fire Strikes
Call the attorneys at The Law Offices of William T. Kennedy, P.C.. They are fire loss specialists and represent home and business owners in property damage claims. They also represent those injured or killed as a result of fire. They are equipped with the expertise, technology, skill and knowledge necessary to help you through this catastrophic process and recover the compensation for which you are entitled and need to move forward in life and business. If you’ve been involved in a fire, call them immediately for a FREE CONSULTATION 1-800-WTK-FIRE.