Every year, most deaths due to a fire occur in the home. Your family should have a fire escape plan in case of an emergency, and know what to do if you or your child are burned.
The first step in fire safety is prevention. Look for possible fire hazards in your home, such as:
- Light bulbs with the incorrect wattage
- Overused extension cords
- Overloading an outlet
- Electrical appliances being in poor condition with frayed cables or wires
- Portable heaters
- Cigarettes, matches and candles
- Grease spills
- Appliances accidently left plugged in
Smoke Alarms and Fire Extinguishers
Having a smoke detector cuts the risk for fatalities in half by alerting residents when there is smoke present. Every bedroom and level of your home should have a smoke detector on the ceiling or high on the wall. Check the batteries often to make sure they are working.
Fire extinguishers can help you put out a fire before it gets too big to handle. There should be a fire extinguisher on each floor and in the kitchen. They work best when the flame is small and in a contained area. The National Fire Protection Association says to remember the word PASS when using an extinguisher:
- Pull the pin. Release the lock with the nozzle pointing away from you.
- Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
- Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
- Sweep the nozzle from side to side.
Creating a safety plan
Your family should have a safety plan to ensure that you are exiting your home quickly, while still being safe. Make sure every family member is aware of exits, doors and windows, and that they can be opened easily. Make sure your children can open them on their own in the event you cannot help them. You should practice fire drills with your family; know how to get out of the house and where to meet outside. Your meeting place should be a safe distance away from the house, such as the mailbox. Once you are out safely, you must not go back inside for any reason.
If a family member gets burned:
- Remove the heat source and any clothing from the burned area.
- A first-degree burn will leave skin pink or red, with no blisters or raw areas.
- A second degree burn will have blisters and clear drainage.
- A third-degree burn can look charred or leathery.
- Run cool water over the area for three to five minutes, then cover it with a clean cloth.
- Never place ice on a burn.
- Keep the burn elevated and call for emergency medical assistance if needed.