1. Install smoke alarms
This one might seem obvious, but a lot of people don’t have smoke alarms or have taken the batteries out because of the noise. Smoke alarms are a vital part of becoming aware of a fire and taking action to get yourself and your family out of the home. Install them in every room of the house and especially outside of the rooms in which you sleep. Should you already have smoke alarms installed in your home, frequently test them and change the batteries should if they die.
2. Clean sources of heat
Things that produce heat and easily get dirty can start a fire in your home. Make it a habit to clean chimneys, stoves, furnace, and even dryers. The cleaner they are, the better the chance you have of preventing a fire.
3. Don’t overload outlets or extension cords
Placing too many plugs into an outlet or an extension cord can cause a fuse to blow, which might start a fire. Try to limit the amount of plugs that are plugged into your outlets as well as in extension cords. Also, avoid daisy chaining. This is when you plug one or multiple extension cords into another extension cord, which is also a big fire hazard.
4. Examine the electrical wiring in your home
Poor insulation or loose connections in wiring can cause a fire that you won’t know about until it’s too late. Although the wires are usually hidden from sight, you can install certain tools such as arc-fault circuit interrupters, which will help you detect problems and stop them before a possible fire occurs.
5. Purchase a fire-resistant safe
Having a fire-resistant safe will protect your important documents and belongings during a fire. However, most fire-resistant safes are made of an extremely thin metal that can easily be torn through by a burglar, which is something you should consider when buying a safe. Also, most fire-resistant safes are designed to protect paper and other contents from burning, but not electronics or flash drives. Keep these things in either a different safe or in a location where they can be easily taken with you in the event of a fire.
6. Keep a fire extinguisher handy
If a fire does break out, it is helpful to have a fire extinguisher nearby to keep the fire from spreading and destroying the house. Make sure that you know how to use it properly before attempting to use it during a fire.
7. Have a plan
Fires can happen even if you’ve taken all the necessary steps to prevent them. This is when a plan of action comes into place. Make sure that your family knows to call 9-1-1 and how to stop, drop, and roll in the event of the fire. Tell them how to exit each room in the house and where you should all meet if you get separated. Being prepared is the best form of protection that will keep you and your family safe.