Friday, October 1, 2021
Each year, firefighters respond to more than 350,000 home structure fires in the United States – many of which could have been prevented.
When you are facing a fire, being prepared can save lives. In fact, you may have less than two minutes to get out of the house once your fire alarm sounds.
To keep you and your loved ones safe, consider these safety tips from the U.S. Fire Administration and the American College of Emergency Physicians:
- Install, test and maintain smoke alarms: Make sure there is a smoke alarm inside and outside each bedroom or sleeping area and on all levels in your home. Test your smoke alarms each month and change the batteries in your alarm at least once a year (consider changing them twice a year – when Daylight Savings Time begins in the spring and ends in the fall.) Replace smoke alarms at least every 10 years and consider installing interconnected alarms where all alarms sound when one is triggered.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors on each floor of your house. Check to see if your carbon monoxide detector takes batteries and change them when you change your smoke alarm batteries once or twice a year.
- Keep fire extinguishers in the kitchen and on each floor of your house. Make sure to check the expiration date of your fire extinguishers and know how to use them. (Think PASS – Pull the pin; Aim at the base of the fire; Squeeze the handle slowly; and Sweep from side to side at the base of the fire.)
- If your house has more than one story, keep an emergency ladder upstairs and know how to open your windows.
- Create your fire escape plan and practice using it. Draw a map of your house showing all windows and doors and ways to exit your home. Find two possible routes out of every room. Determine a meeting place outside your home. Discuss the plan with all members of your household and conduct drills to practice at least twice a year. Make sure to also keep emergency phone numbers like fire, police, ambulance service, your doctor and the poison control hotline on every phone or next to every phone if you have a landline.
- Other tips on preventing fires in your home:
- Unplug appliances when you are not using them.
- Do not overload outlets by plugging in too many cords.
- Regularly check electrical cords for any damage.
- Do not run cords under windows, doors or rugs.
- Keep combustible items like paper more than three feet away from heat sources like a space heater. Do not plug in space heaters or fans into extension cords or power strips.
- Do not use gas or kerosene space heaters in rooms without ventilation and never start vehicles or lawn mowers in the garage when the garage door is closed.
- If you have young children, cover all electrical sockets with outlet covers and consider using knob covers on your stove so they cannot turn on any of the burners.
At Norman Regional Health System, we want you to be healthy and safe. As cold and flu season begins, we are here to care for the needs of you and your loved ones. If you need medical advice, log on to Norman Regional Virtual Care and visit with a provider today from the comfort of your home or office. It’s quick, convenient and only costs $55 for each visit.