Did you know that every 76 seconds, a home catches fire somewhere in the U.S.? And that kids are at especially high risk in fires? According to statistics, about 3650 children ages 14 or younger are killed or injured in residential fires every year.
Okay, that’s the scary news. Now for the good news: many residential fires can be prevented by taking some basic precautions. You may already be taking many of these steps, but a few may surprise you. For more safety ideas, view our baby proofing safety collection.
Install Basic Fire Safety Equipment
- Mount fire extinguishers on every level, especially near the kitchen, where many home fires start. Make sure all adults and older kids know how to use them.
- Install smoke alarms on every level. Test them and replace batteries regularly.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors near your bedrooms (it’s the law in many states).
- Get a fire safety blanket to store in your child’s bedroom. It can shield your child during an escape, or even extinguish a small fire.
- If you have a multi-story home, get a fire ladder. Practice using it from a ground floor window.
Practice Good Fire Prevention
- Never light candles unless you’re in the room to supervise.
- Keep flammable items several feet away from fireplaces, space heaters, and lamps.
- Learn first aid and CPR.
- Have your chimney professionally cleaned every year.
- Position your outside grill at least three feet away from the side of the house.
- Clean the lint screen of your dryer every time you use it. Don’t use the dryer when you’re not home.
Avoid Sparking Electrical Fires
- Avoid overloading wall sockets.
- Cover unused electrical outlets with outlet covers. (Nearly 4,000 people are hospitalized every year because of outlet-related accidents. One-third of them are caused by children inserting objects in the outlet).
- Treat electrical cords with care. Examine them regularly and replace frayed or worn cords.
- Loose cords are hazardous; use cord shorteners to remove slack or cord covers to put them off limits.
- Don’t use extension cords permanently. They cause more than 3,300 residential fires every year. When using, get a cord clamp to keep kids from accessing the plugs and sockets.
- Use the correct type of lightbulbs in lamps and light fixtures to avoid overheating.
- Unplug countertop appliances after use.
- Make sure kitchen and bathroom outlets are protected with GFCIs (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters).
Talk to Your Kids about Fire Safety
In addition, experts recommend talking to kids about fire safety and creating a family fire safety plan. Read our companion article, How to Teach Kids Basic Fire Safety.
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