While not as glamorous or as fun as decorating your home, keeping your home safe from fires is of paramount importance when it comes to safety in your residence. One of the more obvious tips is to make sure all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in your home are in full working order. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that you change batteries in these devices at least once a year. If you have children or older individuals in your own, you may want to change these batteries twice a year. Following a replacement schedule is the easiest way to remember to do this (ie, on New Year’s Day and on Fourth of July, every calendar year).
However, changing the batteries alone isn’t sufficient. Setting a monthly schedule to test each detector is also critical. (You can write it on your family calendar to remind yourself). Oftentimes, fire departments discover that fires occur in homes with smoke detectors that weren’t operational, either because the battery wasn’t working, or was disconnected temporarily (ie, after a smoky cooking incident).
Moreover, do you have a home fire safety plan? Does every member of your family know what to do when there’s a fire? Make sure there are two ways out of every room, and that each member of the family knows what they are. For windows, are they stuck closed? Can the screens be removed quickly? Does everyone know how to check doors to see if they are hot, and if so, how to find another way out? Remember that towels can be used for handling, touching or grabbing items to avoid burns, and also can be used as a cover to protect faces and cover mouths.
If you have a second floor, do you have an escape (rope) ladder in a central location, near windows? And does every family member know where it is, and how to use it if there is a fire? Also, have you designated a meeting spot outside of the home where everyone can meet if there’s a fire? Everyone needs to understand that once they exit the home, they can’t go back inside for any reason (even if there are pets inside). As a corollary, do the adults have a plan to find and transport any pets in the home if there is a fire?
We hope you find these tips to be useful, and worth discussing with your family.