News of wildfires continues to emerge from Canada and Europe, with the wildfires in Greece becoming the latest addition to a harrowing list. A majority of these calamities are caused by adverse climate and other environmental factors.
A report published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), however, highlighted how about 26% of the fires reported between 2016-2020 emerged from homes.
It is not possible to completely do away with the risk of fires. But there are a few small steps you can take to make sure you do not increase the risk of a fire breaking out in your home. With a little preparation, you will find yourself well-equipped to combat a fire should it break out in your home.
Here are three simple things you can do to make your home safer in the event of a fire:
Install Smoke Alarms
Smoke detectors are your first line of defense against a home fire.
TorHoerman Law notes how fake or defective products could have dire consequences. Making sure you have good-quality smoke detectors installed is important. But making sure that your smoke alarm system is well maintained and functioning is the goal of the operation.
The sooner you are notified of a fire breaking out, the sooner you can spring into action. When a fire breaks out, every second counts.
A smoke detector has two main components: An alarm designed to alert members of your home in case of a fire, and a sensor to detect said fires. There are two common types of sensors/detectors.
The first is known as a photoelectric detector. This type of detector functions by emitting a light beam from the chamber. In the absence of smoke particles, the light is not reflected and does not hit the light detector. When smoke particles are present, however, the light is reflected, triggering the light detector, and the alarm.
The second is ionization detectors. Between two electrically charged plates lie small amounts of radioactive materials. These radioactive materials allow the flow of current between the plates by ionizing the air. When smoke particles are introduced into the chamber, the flow of current is disturbed, triggering the alarm.
An NFPA report on smoke alarms in US house fires reveals a 55% reduction in fatalities if a home has smoke alarms installed.
Keep Fire Extinguishers Handy
Now that you have your smoke alarm system up and running, the next weapon in your arsenal against a home fire is a fire extinguisher. It is recommended that you map out your space and select one or more fire extinguishers accordingly.
It is also beneficial to familiarize yourself with the various types of fire extinguishers since different extinguishers are better suited for different fire classes (it’s also useful to read about the fire classes).
There are a few common types of fire extinguishers, conveniently equipped with color-coded labels for your benefit. Water fire extinguishers are better suited for class A fires, while a CO2 extinguisher might be a better choice for class B fires. A foam fire extinguisher is good for both, class A and class B fires.
If you are using a foam fire extinguisher, however, make sure that it does not contain toxic chemicals like PFAS. Some firefighting foams, like AFFF (aqueous film-forming foam), have been found to contain forever chemicals that can cause cancer and other life-threatening diseases. This has led to a firefighting foam lawsuit being filed as well.
Practice Safer Habits
It is almost impossible to reach a limit to how prepared you can be for a fire. What is equally important, however, is making sure you are not doing things to increase the risk of a fire breaking out. Developing some common safety habits could make all the difference.
Simple habits such as switching off your appliances when you are done using them are beneficial. Habits with dire consequences include smoking cigarettes in fire-sensitive areas, not following local fire regulations, or something as simple as forgetting to blow out your candles before bedtime.
Electrical appliances, especially those built for homes, have multiple safety features in place, and the technology has progressed by leaps and bounds. But we shouldn’t take these safety measures for granted. If stressed, even the safest electrical equipment could malfunction (plugging multiple heavy appliances into an extension board, for instance).
Despite the various checks and balances put in place, a fire could break out anytime. This makes it a good idea to stay prepared. These few safety tips and recommendations could make all the difference when it comes to keeping yourself and your family safe in the event of a fire.
Above all else, it is essential that if a fire breaks out in the home, you make sure you and your family run to a safe space immediately. Do not try to stay back to save items you consider important, as they can be reacquired. You can purchase insurance to cover yourself financially in the event of a fire, allowing you to focus solely on keeping yourself and your family safe.