In March, 2015, the great city of Brooklyn suffered a tragedy in the Midwood community. Fire broke out in the night claiming the lives of seven siblings. Such sadness moves us to seriously face the important issue of home fire safety in our own homes. Does your family know what to do if a fire were to break out in the night in your home?
Take action now. Protect yourself and your family with the following basics of home fire safety:
Before retiring to bed:
- Unplug as many electrical appliances as possible.
- If you are a smoker, safely put out cigarettes and extinguish candles. (Always keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children).
- Check gas appliances.
- Put a fireplace screen in front of open fires.
- Clear clutter from staircases.
- Close interior doors and keep them closed.
- Keep house and car keys near you or appropriate doors and windows.
- Keep a mobile phone nearby for emergency calls.
- If you use an electric blanket, turn it off.
When cooking in the kitchen:
- NEVER leave a pan in use unattended.
- Use spark devices to light gas cookers. Matches or lighters are not as safe to use.
- Pot and saucepan handles should be positioned to point toward the outside edges of the stovetop. Don’t let them hover over pilot lights or other burners.
- Keep the oven door shut.
- Use only a thermostat-controlled deep fat fryer for frying.
Kitchen fires account for 50 percent of apartment fires and 25 percent of home fires. One-third of these fires are caused by leaving a pan unattended when in use. Don’t leave cooking food unattended!
When smoking (if you’re a smoker):
- NEVER smoke in bed.
- Never leave a lit cigarette, cigar or pipe unattended. As they burn down, they can fall, land on something combustible and start a fire.
Smoking causes more fires and kills more people than any other single cause. Be aware of and take the necessary steps to avoid the fire risks that come with smoking.
If drinking alcohol or taking drugs:
- If you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you are uncoordinated, uninhibited and more at risk of causing a fire while cooking or smoking.
- Don’t attempt cooking when impaired.
- Don’t smoke when impaired. You may fall asleep. Whatever you are smoking will burn down, could fall onto something combustible and could start a fire while you’re asleep.
When using electronics:
- Keep appliances away from water.
- Turn off and unplug electrical appliances when not in use. Service them regularly.
- Never overload outlets. An outlet can overheat and start a fire if too many appliances are drawing power from a single outlet.
- Never fix damaged cords with duct tape. Throw away the cord or the appliance the damaged cord is attached to.
- Never run cables or cords under mats or carpets. You’ll never know if the cable or cord is damaged and in need of replacement.
Teach home fire safety tips to your children:
- Explain the dangers of fire and how it should be dealt with. Depending on the ages of your children, tell them that fire is best dealt with by an adult.
- Teach your children to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothing catches fire. Rolling on the ground will smother the flames.
- Make a home fire safety escape plan with escape routes and a meeting place across the street from your home. Share it with your children and practice it with them regularly.
General home fire safety tips:
- Make sure smoke detectors are working properly each month. Change smoke detector batteries every six months. (Before properly disposing 9-volt batteries, cover the positive and negative connections at the top of each battery with duct tape).
- Place at least one smoke detector on every level of your home.
- Install escape ladders in second- and third-story bedroom windows.
- Fire extinguishers should be placed in the kitchen and near places in the home where there are open flames.
A home has many potential hazards, but preventing fires in your home should take top priority. Take time to make your home as safe as it can possibly be. Make your family feel safe and secure at home.
For more information on home fire safety, visit http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/safety-tip-sheets.
As a Brooklyn real estate agent with Fillmore Real Estate, I truly care about my clients’ safety in their homes here in Brooklyn. Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, at (718) 253-9600 ext 206 or email [email protected] when looking to buy or sell your next home.