Fire Prevention Planning for Home Safety
In two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes, a house can get filled with flames. Room temperature can reach 100 degrees centigrade near the floor and 600 degrees centigrade at the level of one’s face. But surprisingly, what kills people in a fire accident is the thick black smoke that engulfs everyone and prevents breathing. The fumes from the fire can enter the lungs and scorch them, burn the clothes, and make the fabric stick to the skin. But it is three times as likely that you will die of asphyxiation from the thick smoke, rather than by the burns you suffer from the fire. Let’s implement a home fire prevention plan today!
Create ‘Escape the Fire’ Plan
Because fires are fast, you should have an escape plan. You must act as soon as the fire starts. Here are the pointers to form your escape plan.
- Make sure every room has two entrances. In case one gets blocked by the fire, you can escape through the other one. This second route could be a window that leads out onto the neighbour’s terrace or a ladder to get out into the garden. It will help if you can find your way out even in the dark.
- Ensure the windows don’t get stuck. The security bars must open quickly, and the curtains must come down fast. Try moving around with your eyes closed.
- Teach children about firefighters and firefighting equipment.
- If you have a smoke alarm that is in good working condition, it will help you. The top fire alarm models are First Alert BRK9120b Hardwired Smoke Detector with Battery Backup, 6-Pack priced at $46.71 and Nest S3003LWES Protect Wired Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm White 2nd Generation Bundle with Deco Gear 2 Pack Wi-Fi Smart Plug priced at $119.00.
- The First Alert smoke detector with a photoelectric sensor and battery backup comes with an 85-decibel alarm. And, the Nest Smoke Detector also doubles as a carbon monoxide detector. Use ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms as needed.
- Test the batteries in the smoke alarms and replace them at least once a year.
- Install fire alarms on all levels of your house on the inside and outside of your sleeping areas.
- It is very dangerous to disable a fire alarm when you are cooking. Turn off the stove and then attend to the fire alarm.
To help visually impaired people, make sure the alarm has a small gap of silence. They can hear the instructions given by other people near them. Flashing light smoke alarms help people with hearing impairment.
Smoke alarms with strobe lights help to alert the neighbours. Wheelock HSR Exceder Fire Alerting Strobe Horn RED, 2W, Wall Mount, 12/24V, 8CD comes at a price of $41.72 and has 3 sound settings.
Other Home Fire Prevention Plan Tips
- This is important – consider making digital copies of your important documents or storing them in fireproof boxes. This includes your birth certificate and land ownership certificate.
- Install an automated fire sprinkler system in your house. This helps prevent the rapid spread of the fire.
Check the proper manuals for instructions on how to use fire extinguishers. In short, follow the PASS set of rules.
- P – Pull
- A – Aim
- S – Squeeze
- S – Sweep
Before you tackle the fire, identify a safe evacuation path. Don’t let the fire come between you and this evacuation path. Get within the effective range of the fire extinguisher and then use PASS.
Pull the pin – this will prepare the fire extinguisher; Aim at the base of the fire; Squeeze the handle to release the foam; Sweep the foam back and forth to put out the fire.
During the fire, smoke collects at ceiling level. So, crawl along the floor to the nearest exit. If you stand up, the smoke will enter your lungs and you will have difficulty breathing.
Leave the room immediately if you are not able to put out the fire.
Actions to Follow if Your Clothes Catch Fire
As soon as your clothes catch fire, stop moving. Drop to the ground and roll on the ground. Cover your face with your hands. If you or anyone with you cannot stop and roll, get a blanket or towel and wrap it over the body. Pour water on the burns and wait for 3-5 minutes. Cover the burn region with a dry cloth. Get help from the fire department or call 911.
If You Cannot Leave
When you wait for a while, it might happen that you do not have a clear path to escape. If the fire doesn’t allow you to leave, then do the following:
- Check the doorknob carefully because it might be hot.
- Open the door slowly and if you see fire or black smoke, then close the door immediately.
- If your pets are stuck inside, tell the firefighters about it.
- Signal to the firefighters from an open window; use a flashlight if needed.
- When you close the door, use tape or cloth to cover the vents and gaps so the smoke cannot get in. Stay inside and contact the firefighters.
Electrical Appliances Safety
- Use a three-socket outlet if an appliance has a three-socket plug.
- If a wire gets frayed, replace it, and avoid a fire. Do not use wires under rugs.
- If a switch or plug is hot, turn it off. Better still, get it replaced.
- Keep a space of at least three feet between combustible material and heating devices.
- Make sure your portable heater has a control thermostat that turns the appliance if it falls on its side.
- Unplug all appliances you do not use.
Never overload a socket. If you need more power outlets, use an extension cord and plug it into the socket in the next room. Overloading the socket makes it heat up and can cause a fire.
Children and Fire
- Make sure children learn that fire is not something you play with. Don’t make the fire mysterious to them, teach them that it will go out when dealt with correctly.
- Don’t leave children alone near a fire.
- Lock up the lighters and matches far from the reach of children.
- You must not use generators indoors and so we will repeat this. Make sure you have plenty of ventilation all around the house all the time.
In 2018, the United States fire department responded to 1, 280, 500 fire emergencies that resulted in 3,594 deaths. The number of fires in US homes was 363,000 and the direct property loss was $25.6 billion. On average, one civilian death due to fire occurred every 2 hours 24 minutes.
Use of Fire Extinguishers
The fire extinguisher is an important part of the home fire safety plan. They save lives and property by suppressing the amount of destruction a fire causes.
Types of Fire Extinguishers
There are four types of fire extinguishers. They are four classes of fire extinguishers A, B, C, and D. You need a different one of the four for separate types of fires.
- For fires involving ordinary types of materials such as paper and wood need Class A fire extinguishers.
- When there is grease, oil, and other flammable liquids, you need Class B fire extinguishers.
- We use Class C fire extinguishers when the fire involves electrical fittings and wiring.
- When we see fires involving burning metal, we use Class D fire extinguishers.
- There is a Class K fire that involves animal or vegetable oils and fats in cooking appliances.
Best Practices for Using Fire Extinguishers
Everyone must know how to use fire extinguishers. Fires happen due to the combination of fuel, oxygen, and an ignition source. Fire extinguishers work on the principle that if we remove one of these three, the fire will die out. For instance, carbon dioxide extinguishers remove oxygen while water extinguishers remove the heat.
Common choices of fire extinguisher types include Class A (Water), Class BC (CO2), Class ABC (dry chemical powder). Remember that if you do not use the proper type of extinguisher, you might increase the fire hazard instead of putting out the fire. First, you must be able to identify the fire extinguisher by reading its label.
When you use a portable fire extinguisher, make sure it is not bigger than you. Before you begin to battle the flames, inform others that there is an emergency. It is important to have practical hands-on training. If you can get a fire simulator for your training, it will prove useful. Use the RACE acronym to get control of the situation – R – Rescue, A – Alarm, C – Contain, and E – Extinguish. Try to delegate these to people around the scene rather than try to do everything by yourself.
Training also includes PASS – P – Pull, A – Aim, S – Squeeze, S- Sweep.
Multipurpose extinguishers will have labels of the type A-B, B-C, or A-B-C. You can use these to combat more than one type of fire.
Home Fire Prevention Plan Book
This is a chapter from my new ebook: DIY Home Hacks, Essential Home Safety. I’ve published it on Kindle for $0.99 and you can check it out by clicking here. It’s not just a home fire prevention plan, as you’ll also learn about:
Guarding Against Falls
Safety from Fire in the House
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Safety Against Strangulation
Safety in the Home from Burns
Life without preparation has plenty of danger. To prepare for the unknown, one must find out what can go wrong and then prepare for these potential events. Here in this book, “DIY Hacks,” we tell you all the things that might go wrong in a house. Reading about them is the first step toward doing the right thing. Doing the right things to make your house secure is the next step. Go forth and implement a home fire prevention plan and much more!