At Home Fire Safety Guide
A fire in your home can be devastating. And even with smoke alarms and other preventions in place, the danger of fire is always present. You want to make sure your home and family are protected, so it’s important to know not only how to prevent a fire but how to stay safe in the event of an accident and what to do after it happens to you. Here is a guide to fire safety at home.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Reducing your risk will be critical in avoiding a devastating house fire in the future. There are a few simple fire safety tips you can do to make sure your risk of fire is low.
- Test your fire alarms regularly. Replace the batteries every 6 months. The easiest way to remember is to change them when you reset the clocks twice a year.
- Inspect heating sources. Replace your furnace filters to remove any buildup of dust or lint. Inspect space heaters and pilot lights regularly.
- Don’t leave flammable items on the stove or oven. Kitchen fires can happen in an instant. Don’t place towels or cookbooks on your stove surface.
- Don’t leave your kitchen unattended. Even just a second can be too long. If you have a pot on the stove or an electric appliance plugged in, don’t leave your kitchen unattended.
- Clean your lint trap. Inspect your dryer and clean out the lint regularly. This goes for the small trap that you clean every time as well as the larger vent from your home.
- Check the condition of your cords. Don’t continue using electrical cords that are broken or frayed. Replace them with new cords.
- Store cleaning products properly. Lots of household cleaners are flammable. That means you need to store them with care to make sure they’re not near anything that can cause them to combust.
- Take care with candles. Always use candles in your home responsibly. Don’t place them where they can be knocked over by children or pets. Always put them out before leaving or going to bed.
Keeping these fire safety tips in mind and reviewing them frequently can help you reduce your risk of fire in your home.
Creating a Family Plan
If you have children or pets, it’s essential that you have a fire safety family plan in case of a fire. Many of us, and schools, teach children basic fire safety. Talk to your kids about the plan if you need to escape your home quickly.
Start by getting everyone in the home together to make a fire safety plan, including your littlest children. Do a walk through of the home to map the exits. Also, plan a meeting space outside of the house away from the risk of fire so as everyone escapes the home, they’ll know where to go.
Prepare your kids to get out right away. Run through drills so they know that they need to leave immediately when they hear the smoke alarms go off, even if they can’t see or hear anyone else in the house.
For your pets, make sure you have a decal on your window or door to alert firefighters that a pet is inside. Keep leashes where you can grab them if you need to get your dog quickly. If you have a cat, consider leaving their carrier out so they get use to it. That way they will be more likely to get in if you need to leave quickly.
Requirements for Home Safety
There are things your home needs to have in place to be compliant with current fire safety codes. Along with working fire alarms, you should also have fire extinguishers in places where they can be easily reached in case of an emergency.
The current building code in North Carolina also requires multiple forms of egress in the home. This means there should always be more than one exit to get out of a house in case of fire. If you have second–floor windows, you may also want to get safety.
What to do After a Fire
We hope that no one will need the following information, but we felt it was important to share it. If you have experienced a devastating fire in your home, here are a few things you need to know.
First, most importantly, do not:
- Enter your home until you know it’s safe.
- Turn on any utilities.
- Move a damaged vehicle.
- Clean any smoke or fire damage.
Instead, make sure you follow these steps after a house fire to make sure you and your family remain safe.
- Wait for the fire department to tell you it’s okay to go back in the home.
- Make sure your children and pets are comfortable and safe.
- Contact homeowner’s insurance.
- Start replacing any lost paperwork.
- Contact schools or family members that need to know about the situation.
- Work with a restoration company to properly clean the damaged home.
Once you know it’s safe, you can enter the home to retrieve any valuable items. You can also assess, along with your insurance agent, if the home can be restored or if you will need to make other arrangements.
Depending on the extent of the damage, you may need to find a place to stay for a period of time after the fire. This can feel overwhelming when your life has turned upside down.
Some home insurance plans offer an additional benefit called Additional Living Expense Coverage or ALE. If your plan has this, you can use the funds to pay for temporary housing, pet boarding, storage space, and even increased food costs.
There are several restorations companies right here in Asheville, and we work with many. Give us a call for a few local recommendations and vendors.
We want our friends and neighbors to stay safe in Asheville. Call us today to learn more about buying your next home.