Home Fire Safety Checklist
Your family may have less than 3 minutes to exit a burning house, so implement these 8 tips now.
Decades of UL research into fire behavior show that 40 years ago, a home occupant had 17 minutes to escape a fire. Today that has been reduced to just three minutes because of synthetic materials in home furnishings combined with modern layouts.
On average, seven people die in U.S. home fires daily, reports the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). In 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to 365,500 house fires with 2,560 deaths, 11,075 civilian injuries and $7 billion in damage. That’s why it’s critical to use a fire safety checklist.
1. Smoke alarms inside and outside of every sleeping area and on every level,
including attic and basement.
Smoke alarms are vital. They double your chances of getting out alive, according to the NFPA, and are so important that working smoke alarms are absent in three-fifths of home fire fatalities. Install smoke alarms certified by organizations like UL, which for over 100 years has been a trusted industry leader in safety analysis and evaluations of consumer electronic products.
2. Smoke alarms tested.
Set a monthly calendar reminder to check all smoke alarms using the “test” button. Replace batteries when the alarm chirps and replace smoke alarms themselves every 10 years.
3. Inside doors are kept shut, especially at night when everyone’s sleeping.
bedroom doors closed buys your family time to escape, potentially increasing
the time you have to escape a home fire. This is because, as discovered by UL’s
Firefighter Safety Research Institute, a closed door helps prevent the spread
of smoke, carbon monoxide, heat and fire.
could see a markable difference [in the studies] that a person could be alive
in a room with a closed door much longer,” explains Stephen Kerber, UL Fire
Safety Research Institute director and program lead.
4. Never leave the
Cooking is a
leading cause of home fires. In fact, there
are more than 50,000 fires in ovens and ranges every year – and many happen
because of unattended cooking. Never
leave the kitchen unattended for long periods of time when cooking. When cooking on the stove, turn pot handles
inward to avoid any spills or accidents.
5. Heating equipment
is all A-OK.
The No. 2 cause of house
fires is heater equipment. Position your furniture and other flammable materials at
least three feet from fireplaces and heaters. Turn off space heaters and
electric blankets when unattended and choose ones that have been certified by
6. Electronics and
chargers all certified.
According to the NFPA, the fourth-leading cause of residential fires is electrical distribution or lighting equipment. This includes fixed wiring, meters, switches, receptacles, outlets, cords and plugs, and lighting equipment. Check that your home has up-to-date electrical wiring and that appliances and electronics, including holiday lights and chargers, are certified by organizations like UL.
Other tips: Replace frayed or worn power cords on appliance/electronics. Don’t use extension cords unless temporarily. For large electronics and appliances, rely on certified surge protectors, which limit voltage by grounding anything in excess of a safe threshold, reducing fire risk.
7. Evacuation plan.
a map of your house identifying all doors and windows. On the map, mark two
ways out of every room
and then check to see that all of your selections are easily accessible and can
be used as emergency exits. Pick a spot in front of the house where everyone will meet;
mark it on the map. Designate adults to carry out babies/younger kids and to get the family’s animals
8. Regular fire
your evacuation plan two times a year, per NFPA recommendations, and aim for
everyone to get to the meeting spot in three minutes or less.
together, these tips can help you and loved ones get out in time, as well as
reduce fire risk. Increase your peace of mind by implementing these fire safety
tips in your home starting today.