As a homeowner, it’s your responsibility to keep your home and family safe.  A house fire is frightening and devastating, but with these fire safety tips, you’ll be better prepared for an emergency situation in your home.

Don’t Smoke Indoors

The bedroom is where 40% of all smoking-related fires start. Mattresses and blankets are composed of combustible materials, making it even more dangerous to fall asleep with a lit cigarette. The more alcohol, drugs, or prescription medications used, the higher the danger. Don’t smoke indoors and always extinguish cigarettes in a fire-resistant ashtray.

Never Leave a Burning Candle Unattended

According to data from NFPA, candles are one of the most common causes of house fires in the United States. Candles are frequently used as a light source when the electricity is out due to a power outage. They are also used to decorate and for ambiance at holidays. So you don’t have to resort to using candles for emergency lighting, keep a flashlight and batteries on hand.

If you do use candles, follow these tips:

  • Burn candles on flat, level surfaces.
  • Use a stable candle holder.
  • Keep them out of reach of children.
  • Candles should not be used near curtains, upholstery, or other flammable materials.
  • Before going to sleep, extinguish the candles.

Make a Home Evacuation Plan in Case of a Fire

Make a strategy for escaping your house in case of fire. It’s easier to follow the plan if you and your family rehearse beforehand. Discuss the exit route with your family and make sure everyone knows what to do if there’s a fire.

Locate at least two escape routes from each room, particularly from the bedrooms where you’re less attentive, either sleeping or relaxed. Check that the windows open easily and screens can be quickly removed.

Fire Safety: Learn How to Use an Extinguisher

Before there is an emergency, learn how to use your fire extinguisher. Homeowners can get fire extinguisher training from the local fire department. Keep an extinguisher in the garage, laundry room, and kitchen.

Purchasing an ABC extinguisher is a good idea as it puts out various types of fires. Only attempt to put out small fires with an extinguisher. If there is a large fire, first get to safety before immediately contacting the fire department.

Inspect the Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms are an important early warning system for fire safety in the house. A functioning smoke alarm significantly improves your chances of surviving a house fire. Smoke alarms must be properly positioned and maintained to be effective.

Unless you’re using 10-year lithium batteries, replace the batteries twice a year. Install smoke alarms on every level of your house, including the basement. Replace the entire device every 10 years or as directed by the manufacturer.

Update the Wiring for Fire Safety

In many older homes, the wiring infrastructure has not kept up with contemporary appliances. Overloaded electrical systems are a fire risk. Keep an eye out for signs of a problem: lights dimming when an appliance is turned on, frequently tripped breakers, damaged electrical components, and loose wall receptacles. Hire an electrician to update your system to keep your family and your home safe.

RK Home Inspection offers inspection services to home buyers and sellers in Central Minnesota. Contact us to schedule an appointment.