According to a recent survey by the National Fire Prevention Association, only one third of American households have developed and practiced a home fire escape plan. Since June is National Safety Month, we thought this would be a good time to discuss best practices in home fire safety, as well as ways to prevent fires from starting in the home in the first place.

1 - Get the Right Equipment - Every home should have at least one fire extinguisher, and everyone who lives in the home should know where it is and how to operate it. It’s important to have a smoke detector on each floor, with extras in areas with sleeping quarters and near the kitchen. Carbon monoxide detectors protect your family from a gas that can be neither seen nor smelled, but can be harmful or fatal if inhaled. Carbon monoxide detectors should also be installed on each floor and near sleeping areas. A great way to keep your equipment in top condition is to schedule equipment checks and battery changes for the same days that you change your clocks for Daylight Savings Time.

2 - Check Your Appliances - Nearly half of all house fires can be traced to faulty wiring in appliances or home electronics. Frayed cords, overloaded circuits, and old or unsafe appliances should be repaired or replaced. This is one case where an ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of cure! In the kitchen, be vigilant about open flames and other heat sources, and never leave these unattended.

3 - Separate Garage and Living Spaces - Attached garages are a popular feature in homes, but can also be a source of danger. Since our garages are more likely to house flammable materials than the rest of our homes, it’s important to create a barrier between the two to prevent or contain a potential garage fire. Because gasoline fumes are heavier than air, it’s a good idea to have at least one step up from the garage to the living areas of the home. Doors from the garage should be fire-rated, well-fitted, and tightly sealed. Pet doors should never be cut into doors between the garage and the living area of a home.

4 - Have a Plan - If a fire does occur, you may have fewer than one or two minutes to get your family to safety. Take the time to map out a plan of escape with your family, including two escape routes from each room, and a place for everyone to meet once safely outside. Hold practice fire drills during both daylight and nighttime hours, so that everyone will know what to do if the unthinkable happens.

At Footers to Finishes, we perform inspections on all areas of the home, including fire and safety issues. If you require a home inspection, please call 304-692-1113 to schedule an inspection.