Home fire is one of those things that most people don’t expect to happen to them. However, home fires do occur and you want to make sure that you and your family are able to get out in time to avoid injury or death.
Installing smoke detectors throughout the home is one of the best ways to keep your family safe should a fire occur. Many fires occur at night while the family is sleeping and statistics show that survival chances increase by 50% when working smoke alarms are in the home.
What’s more, smoke detectors are both reliable and affordable. Smoke alarms run in the area of $10-20 each so equipping your entire home can realistically be accomplished for less than $100. That is a very small price to pay for the safe protection of your family and property from the ravages of fire.
Where to Install Smoke Alarms
At the very least, one smoke detector should be installed on each floor of the house, including garages, basements and attics. However, since most fires occur in the early hours of the morning, it is also prudent to install alarms in all the bedrooms to ensure that those sleeping hear it and are awakened in time to exit the home.
When installing smoke alarms, keep in mind that smoke and heat rise. Therefore, place your alarms either directly on the ceiling or, if you install them on the walls, place then no further than 8 inches below the ceiling.
What Type of Smoke Alarms to Buy
There are two types of smoke alarms to consider when planning your home fire protection strategy. First, there are models which require batteries to operate. Such battery operated smoke alarms are cheaper and easier to install, but they are useless should the batteries die. If you choose battery operated smoke detectors, be sure to check them regularly and change the batteries at one chosen time every year. An excellent time to change batteries is when you complete your spring cleaning.
The other type of fire alarm hardwires directly into your electrical system. Although a bit more expensive than battery operated fire alarms and a bit more difficult to install, they are much more reliable. Many of these units can be purchased with battery backups in case of a power outage.
Regardless of which types of smoke alarms you choose, it is advised to totally replace them with new units every 8-10 years.
Other Home Fire Safety Considerations
Besides home fire alarms, there are a couple of other considerations to ensure home fire safety.
It’s good to have a fire alarm warn you of the danger of a home fire. However, if the fire is not too large then you want to be able to douse it before it causes major damage or jeopardizes lives. Therefore, you should strategically place fire extinguishers throughout the home as well.
There are several classes of fire extinguishers which are labeled as follows:
- Class A: For SOLIDS – i.e. wood, paper, plastic, etc
- Class B: For FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS – i.e. oil, petrol, paraffin, etc
- Class C: For FLAMMABLE GASES – i.e. propane, methane, butane, etc
- Class D: For METALS – i.e. magnesium, titanium, aluminum, etc
- Class E: For ELECTRICAL fires
- Class F: For cooking OILS, FATS, etc
When placing fire extinguishers in your home, be sure put them in strategic locations. For example, place a Class A extinguisher near a fireplace, Class B in the garage or workshop, Class C near a heating oil tank, Class D in the garage or workshop (if you work with metals), Class E near your entertainment system and Class F in the kitchen.
You should also have an updated evacuation plan in case of fire so that all family members can quickly escape the home and be accounted for. Various escape routes should be planned should the fire start in different areas. There should also be a central meeting place safely away from the house which all family members should go to immediately. You can make evacuations both fun and effective for children by holding occasional family fire drills so that the evacuation plan is seared into their minds.
Fire can move through a home rapidly and cause devastating effects. By strategically installing fire alarms and smoke detectors throughout the home and maintaining them, placing the proper fire extinguishers in locations where they can be used to quickly put out fires, and having a life-saving evacuation plan in place, you can rest more assured that you are keeping your family safe through proper home fire safety precautions.