Fire safety and escape plans

Monday, May 17, 2010

Easy Fire Safety Strategies:

*If you have children in the house, always store candles and matches well out of their reach, either in a locked drawer or on a high shelf.

*Always keep space heaters a minimum of 3 feet away from flammable materials like paper, clothing, bedding and draperies.

*Never leave food that's being cooked on the stovetop or under the broiler unattended -- if you need to leave the kitchen, turn off the heat source.

*Keep a small multi-purpose fire extinguisher (one that's approved by a testing laboratory) in your home for putting out small fires.

*If you have a fireplace, be sure to have it cleaned by a professional once a year to remove flammable soot, and always keep screen in place to catch flying sparks.

*When grilling outdoors, always use the appropriate type of lighter fluid, and never add more after the fire is lit -- this can cause flames to flare up and spread to other objects or areas.

Creating an Escape Plan:

*Does your family know where to go and what to do if your smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector goes off? If not, NOW is the time to make a plan!

*Walk through your home with your children and point out all possible exits, like doors, windows and fire escapes.

*Sit down together to draw a map of your home, and mark the shortest escape routes from each room.

*Choose someplace safe and familiar outside your home where family members can meet in an emergency, such as a neighbor's house, a nearby street sign, or a lamp-post.

*Pair young, elderly, or handicapped members of your household with an "escape buddy" who can help them safely leave the house during a fire or any other emergency.

*Hold practice escape drills every few months, both day and night, so that your family is extremely familiar with the procedure should an emergency ever occur.