Prepare for a Home Fire

Home fires are very serious -- an entire home can be completely engulfed in flames in as little as five minutes. Over 350,000 homes catch fire in the United States every year -- and an average of over 2,600 people lose their lives in house fires each year.

In 1916, the Great fire of East Nashville, Tennessee, left over 2,500 people homeless after destroying more than 500 houses.

In 2005, four children were left at home to look after one another when a small fire broke out on the stove. The eldest, being only twelve, knew exactly how to tackle different types of fires, and contained the flames, saving her siblings.

How to Use Fire Extinguisher

How to Store a Fire Extinguisher

Fire extinguishers are important to have at home, and should be stored properly so they can be used when you really need them.

Fire extinguishers should be kept somewhere dry where temperatures get no lower than -40 degrees and no higher than 120 degrees in order for it to continue to function properly.

Fire extinguishers should also be replaced every 12 years -- and possibly even sooner if it’s damaged in any way.

If your fire extinguisher is missing a pin on its handle, has an unstable handle, has visible rust or corrosion, a cracked, clogged, or ripped hose or nozzle, or is missing its inspection tag, you should consider replacing it.

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Preparing for a Home Fire

The best way to prepare yourself and your home is to make sure your home is free of hazards, and you and your family have an escape plan.

The most important thing to remember is that you should get your family (including pets) out before anything else. Material possessions can be replaced -- the people you love can’t.

One of the best ways the author of this piece keeps their home safe is making sure that the risk levels are kept as low as possible. Don’t leave any fires burning unattended, including candles, make sure to unplug appliances after using them, and keep a fire extinguisher handy at all times.

Putting out different types of fires

There are a few different types of fires -- and while we do not advise attempting to fight a house fire on your own, we also understand wanting to extinguish them while they’re still small. For example, if there’s a small fire while you’re cooking.

Water - A fire that burns on common fuel sources, like plastics, fabrics, trash, paper, and wood, should be extinguished with water.

Chemicals - If a liquid has caught fire, such as alcohol, oil, tar, gasoline, solvents, and paint, that fire needs to be extinguished by depleting oxygen. Attempting to extinguish the flames with water will only make the fire even worse.

Electrical - Electrical fires, which can happen due to electrical transformers, motors, and appliances, should be extinguished by cutting their power.

Greases - And finally, most kitchen fires that originate from butter, grease, lard, olive oil, vegetable fats, and animal fats should be immediately extinguished with a fire extinguisher.

If you are unable to extinguish a small fire before it begins to spread, it’s better to be safe and get your family and pets out while you can.

Home Fire Preparedness Plan - Activity List

But making sure you watch any fires closely won’t completely prevent fires in your home. It’s important to take action in order to stay safe -- but don’t worry, the extra work you put in will be worth it.

  • Replace all smoke alarm batteries twice a year (unless 10-year lithium batteries are being used)
  • Never disable smoke alarms, especially before cooking
  • Replace all smoke alarms every 10 years
  • Have at least two ways to get out of each room in your house, as well as an escape plan
  • Teach your children what to do in a house fire
  • Train your pets to come when called to assure they make it out of the house unharmed

It’s also important to know exactly how to get out of your home when your vision is compromised. Smoke can build up quickly and make it nearly impossible to find your way out. It’s important to know how to escape your home with your eyes closed.

During a fire you should always try to keep your wits about you, and remain calm while escaping. If you can, you should use a fire extinguisher to help create a path to safety. In addition to that, you should also go along with the following steps.

  • Call 911 immediately after escaping the home
  • Feel any doors and their door knobs for heat before attempting to open them -- if there is smoke coming in around the door, use another exit
  • Stay low to the floor by crawling -- the lower you are, the father away you’ll be from poisonous gasses and heavy smoke
  • Open doors slowly and be ready to shut them behind you quickly
  • Collect and call all of your pets when escaping your burning home -- if the fire has trapped them, tell a firefighter where they are immediately
  • Remember to stop, drop, and roll in the event your clothes catch fire
  • If you cannot escape your home, stay low to the ground and shut the door to the room you’re in, cover all vents and cracks under doorways, and call 911 -- signal for help by using flashing lights or waving a piece of cloth
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Emergency Gear to Prepare for Home Fire – Product List

The gear you'll need to survive. The gear you'll need for evacuation is exactly the same as what you might need when you're staying home to weather out the storm.

  1. 72-hour kit or go Bag - your individual kit should have clothing, gear and supplies for 3-10 days minium
  2. Food Storage - Take a long food from your long term food storage

While the most important thing to get out of your home is your family, it’s also important that you have emergency supplies ready in the event you’re left without a home.

It’s a good idea to store your supplies in an emergency kit outside of your house. It’s better to have an emergency bag in your car or at a family member’s home so you don’t have to waste precious seconds grabbing an emergency kit.

No matter where you store your emergency kit, it should be full of the following.

  • A change of clothes for each member of your household
  • Extra pet supplies
  • Pads and tampons
  • Non-perishable food items
  • A fire extinguisher
  • Cash
  • A fully charged power bank for mobile phones
  • Any medications you or your family may take
  • Infant care supplies
  • Face masks (if there is an active pandemic)
  • Copies of important documents (or a flash drive with scans of the original documents)
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries

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3 Most reviews are based on personal experience from one of our content editors. Some are based on research and the opinions of other reviewers.


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