Fire Safety and Preparedness Tips for Summer
Winter is often associated with house fires due to heaters and fireplaces, but summer brings its own set of fire safety concerns. Creating and practicing a fire safety and preparedness plan can help you protect your home and family.
Top Tips for Summer Fire Safety
The number one fire safety tip is installing and maintaining the right amount of smoke alarms on every level of your home to provide an early warning. Optimal locations for smoke alarms are inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Maintain smoke alarms by testing them at least once per month. Replace smoke detectors every ten years.
- Cooking safety: Be aware and limit distractions when cooking inside or outside.
- Matches and lighters: keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
- Candles: candles should be at least twelve inches away from anything that can burn. Always put them out when you leave the room or go to sleep.
- Grills: Keep them at least three feet away from anything that can burn.
- Fire extinguishers: Place near stoves, grills, wood stoves, and anywhere else where high heat or flame is often used.
- HVAC systems: Maintenance is important to remove dust from the electrical components.
- Lawnmowers: Maintain regularly — specifically, check the gas tank, muffler, and motor.
- Fire safe: Keep important documents and valuables inside it so that they will survive a fire and help you put your life back together afterward.
It is also essential to be prepared and hope you never have to put your plan into real-life action. However, having a plan in place helps reduce chaos and can save lives in the event of a fire.
A few fire preparedness tips suggested by the Red Cross include:
- Smoke Alarms: install the correct amount of smoke alarms for your home. The number of smoke detectors needed varies by house size. Also, building requirements vary by state.
- Test smoke alarms once a month.
- Teach family members what your smoke alarms sound like and what to do if one sounds.
- Develop an escape plan and practice the plan.
- Have an emergency communication plan in place for your family members.
- Make sure all household members know how to dial 9-1-1 from all devices in your home.
- Teach your family the stop, drop and roll method to extinguish clothes on fire.
- Practice your fire preparedness plan twice per year.
Two minutes may be the only time you have to escape if a fire starts in your home. Create a fire evacuation plan to help you and your family feel confident if you need to evacuate.
- Check your street number outside the front of your home. If it is not visible from the road, repaint it or install house numbers visible from the street.
- Draw a simple floorplan of your home and do a walk-through. Identify and markdown two ways to escape each room.
- Make sure all escape routes are clear and accessible.
- Test doors and windows to ensure they open with ease.
- Choose a nearby location, a safe distance from the home, as an outside meeting point for your family. Mark the location on your escape plan.
- In addition to 9-1-1, have your family memorize the fire department phone number.
- If you have anyone in your home requiring mobility help, assign a specific family member to assist them during an emergency. Assign a backup person to help if the first person is away when needed. Babies, the elderly, or anyone with a mobility disability may need help evacuating.
- Make sure overnight houseguests know your fire evacuation plan.
- Do not re-enter the home during a fire evacuation.
The last and one of the most critical parts of your fire evacuation plan is to practice your plan!
Another important evacuation plan aspect involves family pets. During a high-stress situation, your pet may run and hide. You will have seconds to react, locate your pet, scoop them up, and evacuate the house. In some instances, you may have to evacuate without them. Include a plan for your pets, and practice with them.
Window decals or pet rescue stickers can let firefighters and emergency responders know what pets are inside your home.
Grilling and Fire Pits
Summer-specific fire safety and preparedness must include grilling and fire pits.
- Check your grill to make sure it is working correctly before use.
- Check for leaks in the gas tank and hose with a gas grill.
- Never leave the grill unattended.
- Have a bucket of water or hose nearby.
- Place your grill at least three feet away from anything that can catch fire (pay careful attention to wooden decks and overhanging trees).
- Charcoal grills: use only charcoal lighting fluid.
Fire Pits / Bonfires
- Have a hose, bucket of water, shovel, and dirt or sand nearby.
- Fully extinguish the fire before leaving the area.
- Never leave a fire unattended.
- Fire pits should be ten feet away from the house.
What to Do If There’s a Fire
If a house fire breaks out in your home and you know how to extinguish it with a fire extinguisher, do so safely. If the fire is out of control or you cannot extinguish it, get out of the house right away and stay out. There are some crucial things to remember in the event of a fire:
- Yell to alert anyone in the house that they need to escape.
- Check doors and handles. If they are warm, find another way out.
- Drop low to go under smoke when exiting the house.
- If the exit route is blocked, use a wet towel under the door and call 9-1-1. Open a window in the room. If you are on the first floor, escape through the window. On an upper floor, yell for help.
- Stop-Drop-Roll if your clothes are on fire.
Being proactive with fire prevention and preparedness is an essential step to keeping your family and home safe. AdvantaClean is available 24/7 for emergency clean-up and repair if you have a fire emergency. We also offer professional HVAC services. Contact AdvantaClean today!