15 Ways to Make Your Home Safe from Fires

Heather Diodati

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Home fires claim thousands of lives, injure tens of thousands and cause billions of dollars worth of damage. According to the U. S. Fire Administration, rural home owners are more than twice as likely to lose their lives in a fire than those in cities or suburbs. By using some of the following precautions, you can help to protect your home, yourself and your loved ones from possible danger from fire.

1) Make sure to keep a charged 5 lb. Fire extinguisher in your kitchen. Failing that, keep baking soda or salt on hand. These are natural fire extinguishers. However, be aware that it takes quite a lot of one or the other to extinguish a fire. For a grease fire in a frying pan, a large-enough pot lid placed on top will deprive the flames of oxygen and smother them.

2) Never force-open your self-cleaning oven door before it has unlocked by itself. The extremely high heat inside the oven during the cleaning process is very dangerous.

3) Ashes thrown out in a cardboard box could re-ignite. Store cooled ashes in a tightly-covered metal container outside of your home.

4) Store all flammables (ie. Gas, turpentine, paints, propane, etc. ) in an outdoor shed.

5) Be careful with cleaning supplies. Certain products when mixed together can be lethal. For example, chlorine and bleach mixed together can explode.

6) Chlorine is highly flammable and must be stored outside.

7) Gas-soaked rags should never be crumpled up and tossed in a corner or in a cardboard box or thrown out with paper, cardboard, etc. The gas will heat up instead of evaporating causing the rag to ignite. Air the rags outside by laying them flat so the gas can evaporate.

8) Never clean anything with gas or turpentine inside your home. Gas vapors are heavier than air and will settle near the floor. Any spark can trigger an explosion or flame, for example, a spark from a hot water heater or furnace.

9) Keep furnaces and gas water heaters clear of piled-up boxes or any other combustibles.

10) Keep baseboard and electric space heaters free of hanging curtains and by all means avoid using them to dry such items as mittens and socks.

11) Have your chimney cleaned each year to prevent creosote build-up and inspect it frequently for obstructions and damage.

12) Test your smoke detector batteries regularly.

13) Don't overload your electrical outlets and never run extensions under a carpet.

14) Never replace a burnt fuse with a penny.

15) Finally, plan and practice an escape route with your family and agree upon a round-up area to make sure everyone is accounted for during an emergency.

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