Fire prevention is a priority. An accidental fire can spread uncontrollably in seconds and the safest way to deal with fire is to prevent it.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), every 24 seconds, a fire department in the United States responds to a fire somewhere in the nation.
Although the number of fires and fire deaths have decreased significantly since the 1970’s due to new construction methods and materials, an average of 358,500 homes experience a structural fire each year and nearly 4,000 Americans are killed in fires annually. In this article, we will share 5 simple fire safety tips for your rental property.
1. ALARMS ARE CRITICAL FOR HOME FIRE SAFETY
Smoke alarms are your best early warning system in the event of fire. Have one on every floor of your rental property, plus one in each bedroom.
Properly installed and maintained, smoke alarms will give residents those crucial minutes they will need to escape. Test smoke alarms every month, replace batteries once a year and replace smoke alarms that are 10 or more years old. Using an old smoke detector is just as bad as not having one at all.
Clean smoke alarms monthly with a vacuum cleaner only. No wiping or water is needed.
CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS
It is important to have carbon monoxide alarms installed in your home to prevent CO poisoning. Carbon monoxide and fire can make for a deadly duo and detectors are needed in any home with fuel-burning appliances. Have one on each floor, plus one in each sleeping area. Unlike smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors need to be replaced every 5 years.
A good reminder is to replace old batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors at the same time when you move the clocks forward in spring and backwards in the fall.
2. KITCHEN SAFETY
Cooking fires are the most common cause of home fires and home injuries. When cooking, be alert, if you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, do not use the oven or stovetop.
Kitchen fires are more often caused by leaving cooking food unattended, placing combustibles too close to the heat source, and unintentionally turning on or not turning off the equipment. Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling or broiling food, check the food regularly while cooking and keep anything that can catch fire away from your stovetop. Unplug small appliances when not in use.
3. THE IMPORTANCE OF FIRE EXTINGUISHERS
Home fire extinguishers are a must so you can put out a small fire quickly before it becomes a big problem. A basic multipurpose extinguisher will put out most fires that start in a home.
Have one on each floor plus the kitchen and garage. They should not be too heavy, or it will be too difficult to handle. Keep in mind that fire extinguishers last only about 8-10 seconds, if you notice fire is getting worse, evacuate immediately.
4. HAVE A HOME ESCAPE PLAN
A fire can spread very quickly, so, it is very important you create and practice a plan to escape in less than 2 minutes. Time is the most important factor in any fire. Any delay may increase the danger and decrease people’s chance to evacuate.
The plan should have two ways to escape from each room. Be sure that everyone knows at least two unobstructed exits -including windows- from every room, designate an outside meeting place a safe distance from the property where everyone should meet.
In the event of a fire, leave home immediately. If there is a lot of smoke, get low where the air will be cleaner, crawl out of the house as quickly as possible and call 911. Once you evacuate, avoid going back inside for anything or anyone. If you live in a building, never use elevators to escape from fire.
5. CHILDREN AND FIRE
Children are naturally curious about fire, teach them to never play with fire and explain them the damage it can cause. Involve children when creating your home fire escape plan and let them know what they should do in case of a fire.
Many home fires are started by children playing with dangerous household items. Store matches and lighters well out of reach and sight of children.
If you need to light a candle, keep them at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn. Blow them out when you leave the room or before you go to sleep, you can try using flameless candles instead. Remove potential risks in your home to keep your family safe.
Work closely with your property management company to ensure that there is compliance regarding all fire safety protocols. Our maintenance team at Pristine Property Management carry out checks on smoke detectors monthly and fire extinguisher inspections yearly.