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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Emergency Plan (ready.gov)
Emergency Contact Info (ready.gov)
Emergency Plan for Schools (ready.gov)
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.
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.
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