In the United States, a residential fire occurs every 60 seconds. And, every year, fires claim nearly 5,000 lives and injure another 300,000 people. “By observing some basic fire prevention precautions, you can decrease your chances of having a fire,” says Don Moore, president of Moore Protection, one of Southern California’s leading residential security providers.
- Install fire and smoke detectors. Once a fire starts, there are only a few minutes before the entire structure is engulfed in smoke and carbon monoxide. “If you don’t escape within the first few minutes of a fire, your chances of being overcome by fumes increases dramatically,” says Don Moore.
- Establish at least two escape routes for every room. Instruct children to get out quickly, and not attempt to save anything. Have a meeting place outside.
- Perform fire drills regularly. Practice crawling on hands and knees to avoid smoke inhalation. Instruct everyone to check door jambs and door knobs before opening. If either is hot, use the secondary route. Remember to escape first and call 911 second.
Follow these steps to help fireproof your home:
- Place matches or lighters out of reach from children.
- Don’t leave burning candles or barbecues unattended.
- Stay home while cooking or while using other appliances (washer, etc.).
- Don’t smoke in bed. Nearly 90% of fire fatalities are caused by carelessness with smoking materials or falling asleep while smoking.
- Make sure your home is fire resistant by enclosing fireplaces with screens to keep sparks from jumping and igniting carpets or other flammable materials.
- Replace wood shingles with fire retardant materials, stucco eaves and screen vents to prevent embers from getting under the structure.
- Repair broken electrical appliances, sockets or extension cords. Unused sockets should be covered with tape or special covers to keep children’s fingers out.
- Clear dry brush, leaves and other vegetation at least 50 feet from your house and prune trees so leaves are not touching the roof.
- Store gasoline and flammables in tight metal containers away from the house and your garage.
Many insurance companies offer discounted premiums to homeowners who install fire and smoke detectors, or security systems with this capability. We want to make sure that you and your family remain safe during a fire emergency. Be aware of ways that you can make your home even more secure.