Fire safety is an important issue in any home or business, yet it is often overlooked instead of being given the priority it deserves. There are some key mistakes that can jeopardize the best laid safety plans, so make sure you know what they are and how to avoid them.
#1: Ignoring your safety equipment
Most people know that they should have certain safety equipment on hand, such as fire alarms and extinguishers. Unfortunately, this isn't enough – you must also inspect these items regularly and make sure they are fully operational.
Smoke alarm batteries should be checked twice a year – do it when you change the clocks in spring and fall to make it easy to remember. Extinguishers have expiration dates, so it's good practice to check these annually, perhaps on New Year's day, to verify they haven't expired. Even built in systems, such as monitored home alarms and sprinkler systems, should be tested or inspected at least once a year to make sure they are operating properly.
#2: Not taking advantage of barricades
There are natural fire barricades within in any home or building. These most commonly take the form of doors. Even a normal door can slow down a fire or at least prevent smoke from spreading – and smoke inhalation is just as dangerous as the fire itself. Close doors between rooms, especially at night when you are sleeping. If you are upgrading your doors, consider investing in fire-proof doors. You can even find home doors that are attractive yet contain a fire-resistant core to help keep your family safer in the event of a fire.
#3: Charging and running appliances at the wrong time
Items with rechargeable batteries, like mobile phones and personal music players, should only be charged when you are home and awake so that you can monitor them. On occasion, these devices can overheat or even explode, which is a fire danger if you aren't around to respond. You should also avoid running other appliances, like dishwashers and dryers, when you aren't home. All it takes is a spark to ignite the dryer lint or to cause a small electrical fire with your dishwasher. If you aren't there to use an extinguisher or call for help, this small spark can lead to the loss of your entire home.
If you need more help in ensuring your safety at home or at work, contact a fire safety consultant in your area.