In October of 1871, The Great Chicago fire devastated much of that city, killing 300 people and leaving over 100,000 homeless. In remembrance of that horrific event, October was designated as Fire Prevention Month. During this month, fire departments across the country hold educational events focused on fire and home safety.
To support this effort, our blog this month offers tips to help keep you and your family safe:
1) Install/check your smoke alarm:
If you don’t have a smoke alarm, install one. If you have one, make sure it is maintained and working properly.
- Test your smoke alarms at least once a month by pressing the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
- Replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years.
- When a smoke alarm sounds, get outside, call 911, and stay outside.
- A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire. Install alarms on every level of the home and in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area
- Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all should sound.
Facts about Smoke alarms:
Almost three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with either no smoke alarms (40%) or no working smoke alarms (17%).
Working smoke alarms save lives. The death rate from reported home fires was more than twice as high in homes that did not have working smoke alarms compared to the rate in homes with working smoke alarms.
In fires where smoke alarms were present but did not operate, 43% of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries.
Dead batteries caused one-quarter (25%) of the smoke alarm failures.
A monitored security system that includes low voltage smoke detectors provides greater protection and quicker responses to fires.
2) Make an Escape Plan:
In the event of a home safety emergency, every second counts. According to the National Fire Protection Association, you may have less than two minutes to escape after your smoke alarms sound. That’s why it’s important to be prepared by planning and practicing an escape route with your family. By planning, practicing, and repeating your emergency exit plan, you can help ensure a safe escape.
Here’s what to do:
- Walk through your home with your family and identify multiple exits out of each room in the house. If windows or doors are blocked, clear them so they can be easily accessed and opened.
- For two-story houses, consider equipping bedrooms with escape ladders to provide additional, safe exits. If you need an escape ladder, Secur-Tek has these in stock.
- Dedicate someone to assist small children or infants out of the home.
- Assign a meeting spot outside that is a safe distance away from your house like the mailbox, tree or neighbor’s house.
- Ensure your street address is clearly visible on your home or mailbox for first responders.
- If you have children, teach them how to call 9-1-1 once outside at your meeting spot and help them memorize your home address.
Once you have your escape plan, it’s time to practice. The NFPA recommends executing your escape plan twice a year, as well as at night.
To get started, download this home escape plan worksheet.
3) Place properly functioning Fire Extinguishers strategically placed around your residence.
Fire extinguishers should be available on every level of the home and in areas like the kitchen and garage. Store them in accessible places or mount them on the wall for easy access in the event of an emergency. Be sure to choose the right fire extinguisher for your home’s needs.
It is important for the whole family to understand how a fire extinguisher works, so be sure to read the instructions carefully and thoroughly with them.
When using a fire extinguisher remember the PASS technique:
P – Pull the pin
A – Aim directly at the source of the fire
S – Squeeze the lever slowly and smoothly to get the flow even and aimed where you need it
S – Swipe back and forth to contain and eliminate all burning fuel.
4) More tips:
Kitchen fires caused by unattended cooking are a major cause of fires in Apex and throughout the country. Keep an eye on anything that you’re cooking. Click here for kitchen safety tips.
- Ensure your fireplace screen covers the entire fireplace.
- Have proper ventilation for heaters and other small appliances.
- Do not smoke in bed.
- Use the correct size fuses.
- Don’t use worn-out electrical wiring or run it under rugs or out windows or doors.
- Clear refuse away — the less clutter, the less fuel a fire has to feed on.
Secur-Tek is locally owned and operated in Apex, NC, offering home and business security, monitoring, automation, audio, and central vacuum systems. Our North Carolina service area includes Apex, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Chapel Hill, Clayton, Garner, Holly Springs, Durham, Raleigh, Morrisville, Pittsboro and Wake Forest.