One of the greatest human discoveries, and scariest natural force is fire. Fire and combustion forces power many things we use daily including gas-powered automobiles, electricity derived from coal, and some cooking devices like grills and torches. Fire is a wonderful thing when used wisely; however, it can cause massive damage when it goes out of control. Finding ways to mitigate the damage of sudden home fires is very important for any homeowner to consider, saving money and the valuable memories contained in your home.
Being a firefighter is not just reserved to people in uniform. In fact, the best firefighting is done before a fire even starts. Making decisions to make your home more fire safe will pay off in preventing major damage from occurring and it will further give you peace of mind because you’ve done everything possible to mitigate and prevent fire damage!
Prevention is the best medicine in nearly everything in life. Whether that’s exercising to stay healthy and live longer, covering up plants before the frost, or taking these simple measures to prevent fire damage with the fitting acronym BURNS:
- Bring the Clutter out of your home, this is important because keeping clear spaces will reduce the amount of fuel a fire has. It also ensures that there are walkways open in the case of an emergency.
- Unplug unused devices. The less outlets being used means the less chances for an electrical fire to start because there is a reduced strain on your circuit. This rule is especially true for heating devices, so make sure to unplug electric heaters before leaving your home! Additionally, surge protectors are a great first line of defense against electrical fires.
- Replace filters and remove lint from your dryer. Taking the time to replace filters and remove lint decreases the amount of flammable dust within your home.
- No flammable items near a heat source. This could be anywhere in your home, from the kitchen to the bedroom, keeping paper, fuel, and cloth away from open flames or heated surfaces.
- Supervise open flames and heat sources, turning them off and putting them out when you leave the area.
These steps can help you prevent fires from happening, and they are generally good practices to perform regularly for the health and safety of your home.
What do you do if the fire has already started? Having a fire emergency plan will allow you to act as immediately as possible, reducing the damage a fire may cause to the minimum. Talk to your family about your plan and show them where to exit in the case of a fire- this can save lives. If the fire happens to be small, it is likely that you can snuff it before it grows using heavy blankets, water, or ideally a fire extinguisher. If you cannot put the fire out by yourself, call the fire department immediately, don’t wait.
Talking with your family and having a fire safety plan is the most important step in reducing potential fire damage. After this, going through your home, making sure all your electrical outlets work well, no open flames are unsupervised, filters are clean, clutter is gone, and unused devices are unplugged, you can feel safe knowing your home is prepared to stand against a fire, though hopefully one will never happen!