Preparing For and Surviving a Fire in Your Home

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This is the time of year when families are putting up holiday trees and decorations as well as candles and other goodies that will provide their homes with a warm and inviting ambiance.  Something I have not seen mentioned in the prepping world is fire prevention — especially as it relates to prepping your home so it will not go up in smoke and flames.

Today I share with you some tips for preventing a fire in your home along with some tips for surviving a home fire.

Fires are a Problem

Fires are a problem, more so than commonly known  Almost 4,000 people die annually from fires in the United States and about a third of those deaths are from home fires.

Common causes of home fires are cooking, baseboard and space heating, careless smoking, electrical malfunctions and arson.  Even more surprising is that most fires are human-caused and are preventable, while only a small percentage of fires are actually due to natural acts such as lightening.

So how does a fire start?  Three elements in a just right combination are required:  heat, fuel and oxygen.  When these three elements are in place and combustion occurs, given a good source of fuel, a home can be destroyed in very short period of time.

Think of this scenario: a dry evergreen tree, a space heater nearby connected to a mis-wired or rounded electrical outlet and a bit of air from an open window.  It does not take long to imagine the disaster that is waiting to happen.

So what can you do now to prevent a fire from occurring in your home? Well, there are no guarantees and accidents do happen, but hopefully these suggestions will insure that you have a safe holiday season without fear that a fire will destroy your home and precious belongings.

Tips for Preventing a Fire in Your Home

Learn how to prevent fires in and around your home. Common fire causes include: cooking, smoking, heaters, candles, electrical, arson, and children playing with fire.

Install and maintain smoke detectors on every level of your home and inside and outside every bedroom. Most fatal fires happen at night while you're sleeping and you will not smell the smoke.

Unplug unused heaters when you go to bed at night or leave your home for any period of time.

Have a fire extinguisher available and know when and how to use it. The minimum recommended size is 2A:10BC.

Plan and physically practice a home escape plan as part of your family disaster plan. Plan two ways out of every room and practice how to safely exit each room in the event of a fire.

Do not block room exits with furniture or excess clutter

Provide escape ladders for stories above the first level and make sure you practice using them.

Designate one outside meeting place so everyone in your family knows where to meet once you are outside.  This place should be far enough away to keep you out of danger but close enough that firefighters can account for you.

If you live in an multiple-family residence or assisted living facility, learn what the emergency evacuation procedures are for your complex. Make sure you are familiar with the building's fire protection systems, what they sound like, how they activate, and what to do if the alarm goes off.

Be sure to plan for family members with special needs who may require assistance.

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