Whether you live in a wildfire-prone state or are at regular risk of home fires, it’s always wise to review your fire safety plans. This week, in particular, is the perfect time to brush up on your knowledge, since Oct. 8-14 is Fire Prevention Week in the United States, according to the Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance (FGIA).
In an October 9 news release, the FGIA and its subcommittee, the Window Safety Task Force (WSTF), share their top pointers for preventing fires. Review their advice below, then check out our top 12 fire safety tips.
Six Steps to Take for Fire Prevention
Take these steps now to ensure if a fire does break out in the future, you’re prepared.
Make or review a fire escape plan
Creating an escape plan is one of the best ways to ensure you and your family know exactly what to do in a fire. If you’ve never made one before, here’s our fire escape guide.
In short, make sure you identify two exits for every room in your home, one through a door and another through a window. The WSTF advises excluding impact-resistant windows, aka hurricane windows, from your plan, since they’ll be nearly impossible to smash in an emergency.
“Don’t forget to include accommodations for loved one with special needs and necessary actions for cherished pets in your plan, as well,” says WSTF co-chair Angela Dickinson.
Practice your fire escape plan
When practicing, remove all obstructions from windows and doors and make sure all your windows open properly; breaking glass should be the last resort in an emergency.
If you have a safe ladder to get out of your windows — which is advised! — practice using it ahead of time. The WSTF also suggests practicing at night as well as during the day, since many home fires occur after dark.
Identify potential hazards
Extension cords, space heaters and gas water heaters are all potential fire hazards. Keep portable electronics unplugged when not in use, and at least three feet away from flammable items like curtains or clothing.
Ensure your smoke alarms work
To help you remember, replace the batteries in your smoke alarms whenever you change your clocks for daylight savings time. Consider writing the “last checked” date on your actual smoke alarm as well.
Stock up on fire extinguishers
Be sure to keep at least one fire extinguisher in your home, and preferably several. They should be regularly inspected and maintained and easily accessible, within 75 feet of any point. Make sure everyone in your household knows how to use a fire extinguisher properly.
Consult local building codes
If you’re remodeling your home, the WSTF suggests checking all local building codes to ensure your windows are fire-safe. You can even build specific emergency windows, called egresses.
If you’re planning on installing window guards or fall prevention devices, make sure they comply with ASTM F2090, ensuring people can escape if needed in an emergency.