‘Tis the season to get educated on house fire safety!

I was recently in an early childhood education class where there was a guest speaker who was a firefighter.  She was giving us all the dirty details about fire safety, with an emphasis on being responsible during the holiday season – cookie baking, Christmas tree decorating, outdoor light stringing, etc.  Coming out of this class I realized how unprepared my family was for any kind of fire emergency.  Cue the manic googling and amazon-ordering.

A few things I learned…. house fires are more common than you probably think.  According to the National Fire Prevention Association*, firefighters respond to a house fire every 87 seconds and an average of 7 people die in a house fire per day in the US.  The top three causes of fires in homes are cooking, heating equipment, and electrical malfunction.  Only 26% of families have a practiced fire safety plan in place.

Scary stats, I know! So I did some research and came up with my top tips for house fire safety and planning that will take you less than an hour to do!

  • Smoke detectors. The risk of losing a life in a house fire is cut in half for those in homes with working smoke alarms! Check your smoke detectors once a year.  For those hard-to-reach detectors, look into investing in a smoke detector pole like this one, or reach out to your local fire station who often offer free detector poles.  (I received one from the firefighter speaker, it’s a long pole with a teeny-tiny plastic hand on the end, which makes it super fun for my kids to “help” with this task. Ha!)
  • Safety equipment. Have a fire extinguisher on every floor (multiple if you have a larger floor plan) and make sure everyone in your family knows where they are.  Keep in mind that these have expiration dates printed on them so double check the ones you own every few years.  If you have upper levels in your home, think about purchasing a fire escape ladder like this one.   
  • Identify safety hazards.  Check the lint in your dryer, make sure any heating appliances are at least 3 feet from anything flammable, extinguish embers in your fireplace before leaving the room, etc. There are so many great resources and checklists on the NFPA and Red Cross websites.
  • Create a family fire escape plan. It’s especially important to teach your children about a plan in case of a fire.  This doesn’t have to be a scary learning experience for them if you involve them in the planning!  This is a great resource for creating a fire plan with your family.  It’s really comforting to now ask my kids what they should do and where we should meet if there’s a fire, and they have an answer! 

I hope these tips help you to feel prepared and safe in your home!

Read more home and safety tips from us here.