Fires can be devastating. Flames move quickly and may destroy your house and belongings in minutes. According to the National Fire Protection Association, they’re also one of the leading causes of death in the home. Take measures to prevent fires from starting in the first place. Here are five tips to help you improve fire safety in your home.

5 Ways to Improve Fire Safety

1. Keep Flammable Materials Away from Heat Sources

Keep your house tidy and verify flammable materials – like newspapers, magazines, and curtains – are at least five feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, space heaters, and candles. Extinguish flames, including candles and the fireplace, before leaving the home or going to bed. Allow fireplace ashes to cool before scooping them into a metal bucket.

2. Smoke Detectors are Essential for Fire Safety

Have working smoke alarms on every level of your home and outside all sleeping areas. Smoke alarms save lives, so install them on each floor, including the basement. Place a device in every bedroom and the hallway outside the bedrooms. Test the detectors monthly to verify they’re working, and replace the batteries at least once a year.

3. Create a Fire Escape Plan

In the event of a fire, time is of the essence. Work with your family to plan an escape route ahead of time. Map out each room in your house and identify two ways out of each (preferably a door and a window). Choose a meeting place outside the home, like a neighbor’s house, where everyone will meet when they exit the building. Practice your escape plan so everyone knows what to do and where to go if a fire occurs.

4. Keep Matches Away from Children

If you have young children in the home, make sure matches and lighters are inaccessible. Store them in high cabinets or childproof containers. Teach children that matches, and lighters are tools, not toys, and that they should let an adult know anytime they see these materials lying around.

5. Learn How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

A fire extinguisher can put out a small fire, saving your property from damage. Purchase a fire extinguisher for each floor of your house, and make sure you always have one in the kitchen. Learn to use the device.

P.A.S.S. is a great acronym to remember. Pull the pin. Aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire. Squeeze the trigger. Sweep the device side-to-side to extinguish the flames. Teach adults and older children how to use a fire extinguisher in an emergency.

A house fire can be frightening and dangerous, but taking simple precautions can significantly reduce your risk of being affected by one. Use these tips to keep your family safe. Prevention is key when protecting your loved ones and property from fire.

St. James Home Services offers home inspections to customers in Durham and the surrounding areas of North Carolina. Contact us to request our services.