Household Fires- What you need to Know About Keeping Your Loved Ones Safe

Fire is a serious concern for any home. Fire can strike without warning. The fact is that in 2005, there were nearly 381,000 home fires in the U.S. annually results in some 16,000 injuries and deaths as reported by the NFPA. We must all be prepared by using fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and escape ladders for fire protection.

Smoke alarms provide early warning when fire happens. The best and most effective way to alert your family in the event of a fire is to use smoke detectors. They can alert you and your loved ones in the early stages of a fire which can give the needed time to take action against the fire or escape. The more smoke alarms you have installed in your home, the better your chances are that you will be alerted to a fire in progress.

A fire extinguisher is a tool to combat small, contained fires. Strategically positioning fire extinguishers throughout your home will greatly increase the chances of keeping a small fire from getting out of control and causing major damage, injury or even death.

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) categorizes fire extinguishers. The ratings determine what size and type of fire that an extinguisher should be used on. Types of fires are divided into three categories: A, B, or C. “A” type fires are primarily wood, paper and fabric fires. Type “B” fires consist of flammable liquids or oils. Lastly, “C” fire extinguishers are for electrical fires.

The number preceding the A, B, or C rating determines the size fire the extinguisher has been tested to be effective on. A 10-B:C extinguisher has been tested to, under most conditions, put out a 25 square foot fire of either flammable liquid or energized electrical equipment. A 5-B:C fire extinguisher is rated to fight a 12.5 square foot fire that is flammable liquid or electrical based.

Proper preparation of your home by the use of fire extinguishers and smoke detectors as well as having well thought out escape plan and rehearsing it and having each family member knowing what to do can help to save your home and family. Fire tragedies are preventable!

It is recommended that homeowners install a minimum of one smoke detector on each floor of your house most importantly near sleeping areas. Also, place an emergency escape ladder in each second or third level bedroom of your home.Installing fire extinguishers in and easily accessible location on each floor is a wise move. You may want to consider more than one fire extinguisher per floor if you own a large home

For most homes the minimum recommended number of fire safety devices is one smoke detector and one fire extinguisher on every level. However, check your local building code for detailed smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm requirements.

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