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Protecting Your Home From Fires

Fires in the home are dangerous for a variety of reasons. It is estimated that 3,400 Americans die each year in fires and over 17,000 are injured. Fires can start unexpectedly, at any time of day or night, and in a variety of locations within a home or apartment. There are different types of fires which have different effects on houses and pose different types of hazards.

Smoke Alarms

This may be considered a no-brainer for some, but some homes do not have smoke alarms and many owners and renters do not check the batteries or functionality of their homes' smoke detectors or invest in their maintenance. Buy a smoke detector, or several of them, and place them in areas of significance, risk or locations that are major thoroughfares in your home or apartment. Kitchens, due to the higher levels of fire risk, are good locations for fire alarms. Hallways outside of bedrooms are also good locations for smoke detectors and if there are the very young or very old living with you, it may be worth placing smoke detectors in their rooms given their higher degree of susceptibility to the dangers of fires.

Appliances and Electrical Fires

Being careful with circuits, extension cords, wires and appliances can decrease the risk of electrical fires. Avoid placing cords and the like under rugs or in areas where people are likely to be walking in high volume. Unplugging appliances (or having them repaired or replaced) that exhibit symptoms like sparking, sputtering or the like can help prevent electrical fires. Using appliances sparingly and keeping track of their propensity for overheating can help keep your home safe from electrical fires.


Connecting sprinklers to home alarm systems or smoke alarms can greatly increase the survivability of those in your home and even benefit your home's property values and insurance rates. Sprinkler installation can be somewhat expensive but can be invaluable in an emergency.

Escape Plans

Having a plan for escaping your home in the event of an emergency, fire or otherwise, is essential. A well thought out, rehearsed escape that has been discussed, evaluated and practiced with family members can save lives. Especially in homes with small children or the elderly, an escape plan can help ensure that no time is wasted, that the family knows who may be safe or missing and where they are so that no one goes missing in an attempt to find and save a missing family member.

These are just some tips about how to think about fire safety in your home. Make sure to be careful, be safe, and think before the emergency presents itself to keep your family from harm based on fires. As always, do your own research so that you and your family will have less to worry about in the face of the risks of a fire.

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