This week, the kids came home from school with fire safety information and it dawned on me that we’ve never really talked about it at home. Maybe it’s because I think it will never happen to us, or maybe I feel like talking about a fire in our home is a scary thing for little people – and if I’m being honest for me too. Not knowing what to do when a fire really does happen though is even more frightening and as they get older, they are by my side less and less, so teaching them to act on their own is a good idea.
Being fire smart doesn’t take a lot of effort. A few simple, regular check ups can be life-saving. Below are some of the basics to consider to help you get started.
There should be at least one smoke detector on every level, or more if your home is larger – just outside of sleeping areas and near the kitchen are good starters.
- Check the batteries each month easily by pressing the test button on the outside of the detector and make a point of changing the batteries once a year.
- Smoke detectors have a life span of just ten years, be sure to replace them when needed.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
These are equally as important and life saving, in fact the Office of the Fire Marshal in Ontario made them a mandatory requirement for all homes in 2014. Again, having at least one on each level is a wise idea, especially in sleeping areas or parts of your home that are close to fuel burning appliances or services rooms such as attached garages or furnace rooms.
Have an Escape Plan
Map out your home and consider at least two ways out from each room, a window and a door. For multiple story homes this may include using a home safety fire ladder (available at most hardware stores), practice using it from a first story window, everyone in your household should know how to use it.
Don’t just make the plan, walk and talk your family through the escape routes room-by-room and agree on a safe meeting place.
Keep Fire Extinguishers at the Ready
Compact, multi-purpose fire extinguishers are a good investment. Store one in an easily accessible spot to everyone in rooms like the kitchen or workshops – wherever the risk for small fires is greatest.
Easy Access to a Phone
Landlines may seem to have gone the way of the dodo, but it is essential that everyone can call for help when needed. For the longest time I have relied solely on my cellphone, but if I’m out, will a babysitter or grandparent have one handy and fully charged? Plus, my kids are getting older and leaving them alone for a short time isn’t out of the question. Make sure kids know how to use the phone and when to call 911.
Note: I actually had to teach my children how to use a landline phone, since we’ve never had one it was completely foreign to them – And for the record, they were appalled that all you could do was use it to call people.
Take the time to get fire smart in your home. Not only will you mitigate damage to your property in the event of a fire, a few easy steps now could be a true lifesaver later.
Want to know more? Review these sources and resources.
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Everyday Insurance With Allie
Working mom, lover of the great outdoors and self-professed know-it-all. Our resident blogger, Allie isn’t the insurance guru she claims to be – but she’s learning and we are happy to help guide her. All the while keeping you in the loop on the “insurancey” stuff you need to know. #AskAllie