More people are killed or injured by accidental fires in homes than all other natural disasters combined. With a little thought, a little common sense, accurate information, and careful action, you can avoid becoming a statistic. Fire Safety is about knowing what is dangerous, why it is dangerous, and how to take corrective action to protect yourself. The more keenly aware you are of the steps you can take, the more fire-safe you and your family will be.
Home fires are the number one cause of fire deaths in the United States. The primary causes of residential fires (in decreasing order of incidence) are:
1. careless smoking
2. electrical wiring
3. heating/cooking equipment
4. children playing with matches and lighters
5. open flames and sparks
6. flammable liquids
7. suspected arson
8. chimneys and flues
10. spontaneous combustion
An additional 500,000 Americans are burned by fire every year, and they survive to endure months and years of pain, limited movement, therapy, and reconstructive surgery. Most worryingly of all is that nearly 80% of accidental fires are preventable according to figures released by the U.S. Fire Administration. With information and education, you can take care of yourself and protect your own life and property.
Personal and family fire safety is about understanding the procedures and precautions to take in each room of the home, with backyard barbecues, with the garage, attic, and basement. Fire safety needs and escape plans vary according to your unique circumstances whether you are in a high-rise apartment or condo building, hotel, office, or workshop in the home.
Sometimes fire safety means being prepared to anticipate dangers ahead of time and taking special precautions in cases such as: if your home is surrounded by hilly or wooded areas; during dangerous situations involving vacations (4th of July, Christmas, Chanukah); while travelling or camping; or when using flammable liquids or common household cleaning products.
No matter how prepared we might be, accidents are a fact of life, so you should never overlook your plan of action in a fire emergency. Learn and teach your children the correct way to report a fire and how to conduct fire drills in the home. Together you should work out an escape plan from your home or apartment and educate yourselves in what kinds of warning devices and extinguishable devices are helpful.
To prepare yourselves should an unfortunate fire ever happen, compile a household goods inventory so that the job of reporting your losses to your insurance company will be easier and you’ll be reimbursed the maximum for what was damaged or destroyed.
Don’t be embarrassed if most fire safety information is new and startling to you. Keep in mind that even fire-fighters forget to tell their families how to prevent a fire or how to act if a fire should occur. Most fires in the home are accidental or the result of carelessness or not thinking. Care, caution, and common sense are the key ingredients for personal fire safety. Educating yourself is the best step you can take.