House fires in the U.S. are devastating disasters. In 2011, there were over 1,389,000 fires resulting in 17,500 injuries and over 3,000 deaths. While some of these fires are unavoidable, others could have been prevented entirely by ensuring proper home maintenance and safety.
Prevention is the first step when it comes to protecting yourself and your family from home fires. Smoke detectors and alarms are often the first line of defense, as these devices will alert your family to a fire so that you have time to escape safely. Families are also encouraged to develop escape routes, to discuss these routes with their children, and to run practice drills so that everyone knows what to do in the event of an actual fire.
You should also be sure to check your home to be sure that it is free of hazards. Check your electrical appliances for frayed cords, and ensure that you make regular inspections. Space heaters are major hazards for home fires, so it is important to keep them out of walking paths and away from both pets and children.
If the unthinkable happens and you do experience a home fire, it is important to follow your escape plan. If it is safe to do so, use a fire extinguisher to put out the flames. Call 911 and ensure that all of your family members are able to exit the home safely.
Fire Prevention Tips and Escape Plans
You can’t simply rely on the fire department to keep you safe in the event of a house fire, as steps in fire prevention are essential. It is important to take steps to ensure that a fire doesn’t result from your negligence, so be sure to remove clutter and verify that your home is properly maintained. Creating a proper escape plan is also vital. Determining how you will get out in the event of a fire will minimize the chance of personal injury.
- Extensive Fire Safety Tips – Types of smoke detectors and alarms and how they can help you in the event of a fire.
- Escape Plans for Kids – How to create a fire escape plan for your children.
- Fire Prevention and Safety Tips – Important tips from the NFPA regarding how to prevent fires and keep your family safe.
- Fire Safety Kit – Items to include in your fire safety or disaster supply kit.
- Hearing Impaired Smoke Alarms – How to maintain a safe environment for the hearing impaired in order to prevent fire-related accidents and injuries.
- Home Fire Escape Plan – Tips for creating a fire escape plan to get your family out of your home safely in the event of a house fire.
- Kitchen Fire Prevention Tips – Helpful tips to prevent kitchen fires.
- Pet Finder Stickers – The pros and cons of placing pet stickers on your windows in the event of a fire.
- Safety Tips from the Red Cross – More fire prevention and safety tips from the American Red Cross.
- Smoke Detector Buying Guide – How to choose a smoke detector for your home.
What to Do in the Event of an Actual Fire
If your home starts on fire, it is important to act quickly to make sure that everyone in the home is alerted about the fire. Follow your escape plan, and ensure that all family members have managed to get out safely. If your escape route is blocked, find an alternative method to leave, and stay low to the ground to avoid smoke and heat.
- Family Escape Routes – Getting your family out of a house fire safely.
- How to Keep Safe During a House Fire – Important steps for keeping safe during a house fire.
- Kids and Fire Safety – How your kids can stay safe in the event of a house fire.
- Kitchen Fires – How to put out a kitchen fire to prevent it from spreading.
- Plan for and Escape a Fire in Your Home – How to get out of your home safely in the event of a fire.
- Putting out a Grease Fire – Tips on how to put out a grease fire.
- Smoke Exposure during a Fire – The dangers of smoke exposure in the event of a house fire.
- Stop, Drop, and Roll – What to do if your clothing catches on fire.
- Using a Fire Extinguisher – Understanding the different types of fire extinguishers and how to use them.
- When to Use a Fire Extinguisher – Tips about when to use a fire extinguisher and when to simply evacuate.
What to do After a House Fire
After a fire, your family’s safety should be your top priority. During this time, you’ll begin to survey the damage, and many of your items may have been destroyed by flames, smoke, water, and heat. The cleanup and recovery process will take both time and patience, and it is important to use caution when working around your home to ensure that you aren’t injured due to unsafe conditions.
- Caring for Your Pets after a Disaster – This PDF file from the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association describes how to help your pets after a fire.
- Filing a Fire Insurance Claim – Important tips for how to file an insurance claim after a fire.
- Great Post-Fire Tips – What you need to do after a fire.
- Handling Smoke Damage – What to do after your property has been damaged by smoke.
- Picking Up the Pieces – The American Red Cross offers helpful advice on what to do following a house fire.
- Recovering Financially – Advice on how to recover financially after you experience a fire or other natural disaster.
- Replacing Personal Documents – How to replace your personal documents after a fire.
- Returning to Normal – FEMA explains what to do after you have experienced a fire.
- Things You Need to Do After a House Fire – How an insurance agent can help you to recover after a house fire.
- What to Do after a House Fire – Information about the key things to do and know following a fire.