Tips to prevent fire damages from happening in your home or business
Nobody wants a fire to break out in their home, covering all of their belongings in soot. With a little prevention and common sense, we can prevent fire damage from ever happening in the first place.
Follow these tips to help you & your family stay safe and prevent fire damage:
- Smoke Detectors: Check the batteries in your smoke detectors every fall and spring. Smoke detectors should be on every level of the home and outside each sleeping area. Smoke detectors need to be changed every 10 years. This includes hard-wired detectors because the internal hardware will begin to break down. Many new smoke alarms come with a 10-year lithium battery and a 6-minute hush button, allowing you to silence the alarm without removing the battery.
- Electrical Cords: Make sure that none of your electrical cords have cracks or breaks. Throw out any that are in poor condition. Why risk it? You can keep grandpa’s old power sander, replace the old cord. Go to E-How to learn how.
- Flea Market Finds: Here is something you have probably never considered. Have you ever gone to a flea market and seen vendors hawking extension cords, power strips, nightlights, batteries, and even circuit breakers for ridiculously low prices? There is a reason why. They are probably counterfeits. They are incredibly dangerous.
- Overloaded Circuits: Have you ever had a circuit breaker that kept tripping or fuses that kept blowing? These are signs of inadequate power, often due to an over-reliance on extension cords. Extension cords are meant to be temporary. If you find that you need to use them often, it is time to hire an electrician to update your demands to prevent fire damage. Electrical fires are the leading source of fire year after year.
- Escape in Time: On average, you have only two minutes to escape after a fire breaks out in your home. Ensure you and your family have discussed a fire escape plan and a meeting place away from the house. Children are receptive to learning, so set a timer and have them practice the escape routes. They will have fun practicing. It provides peace of mind for them by knowing what to do in the event of a fire. It is vital for them and the firefighters to have a clear path for a safe exit.
- Grease Fires: NEVER use water on a grease fire. Turn off the burner and place a lid over the flames to cut off the fire’s oxygen supply. Baking soda can be used to smother a fire, but it does require a liberal amount to be effective.
These need to be checked yearly and replaced every six years.
Fire extinguishers have 4 different classifications:
- Class A: Combustible material such as paper and wood.
- Class B: Fires involving flammable liquids such as gasoline, paint, diesel fuel, or solvents.
- Class C: Fires started in electrical equipment by arching or overheating.
- Class D: Fires involving combustible metal powders, flakes, or shavings.
What can you do to minimize loss and be more prepared in the event of a disaster?
Get insured! Having insurance on your car, home, apartment, or business will minimize the loss you face in a disaster situation. Insurance offers you peace of mind and the ability to recover more quickly after a disaster.
Make a Disaster Supplies Kit
Do not wait until the last minute to attempt to prepare an emergency kit. When a disaster hits, you may not have the time or ability to obtain the supplies you need to get through the situation comfortably.
What you need in your emergency kit:
- Water – one gallon per person per day for at least three days for drinking and sanitation
- Food – At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food for you and your pets
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio with extra batteries
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust masks to filter contaminated air, plastic sheeting, and duct tape to make an emergency shelter.
- Wet wipes, garbage bags, and toilet paper
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities (shut off valves)
- Manual can opener for food and knife (multi-use)
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers, inverters, or solar charger
- Medication list for renewals and a three-day supply
- Medications such as Advil, Tylenol, and Aspirin
- Paper plates, cups, napkins, toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, contact lenses, solutions, and sanitary supplies
- Extra clothes and shoes
- Blankets, hats, and mittens
- Copies of essential documents such as birth certificates, passports, and Rx list
Things to Remember…
- Pets – water bowl, food, and leash
- Infants – formula and diapers
- Elderly – list of prescriptions, walker, cane, dentures, glasses, and hearing aids
First Aid Kits should include…
- 20 adhesive bandages of various sizes
- sterile gauze pads of different sizes
- conforming roller gauze bandage
- germicidal hand wipes or waterless alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- antiseptic wipes
- CPR breathing barrier, such as a face shield
- cold pack
Expand this list as much as you want to fit any need. Advil and Tylenol are great for muscle aches and headaches. Benadryl is useful to help combat allergic reactions. Granola bars are helpful when someone has low blood sugar. Eye drops are great for removing debris and eye discomfort.
These kits are quick and easy to put together and can even be ordered online. These items are available at your local dollar store, pharmacy, big-box store, or online at the American Red Cross. Your kit should be based on your own needs. The dollar store has many of the first aid items making it even more cost-efficient to put your own kits together.
Emergency kits should be kept at home and work. Speak with the Office Manager at your company to locate where the First Aid kits are kept on-premises and in company vehicles. Keep supplies in your car in case of an emergency when traveling.
Tip: Did you know that the headrest in your car detaches so that in an emergency, you can break the glass if needed to escape the car?