October 5th to 11th is national fire prevention week. Is your family safe?
Established to commemorate The Great Chicago Fire, which destroyed more than 17,400 structures in 1871, national fire prevention week takes place each year between the 1st and 2nd week of October. Here we present some of the best things you can do to implement fire safety measures in your rental.
As Popular Legend Will Have It
Popular legend has it that the fire, which started on a Sunday evening October 8, 1871, broke out after a cow – belonging to one Mrs. Catherine O’Leary – kicked over a lamp, setting first the barn, and then the entire city ablaze.
And, while there is some truth to the story as is the case with all good stories, no evidence was ever found that Mrs. O’Leary’s dear old cow had in fact started the blaze.
In fact, no evidence was ever found blaming anyone or anything, thus leaving historians and journalists perplexed as they can only theorize about what really set the city on fire.
Fire’s Ugly Truth
In 2011, U.S. fire departments responded to 370,000 home structure fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. The leading cause of these fires is from cooking while heating equipment is a close second cause.
Almost three out of five (60%) home fire deaths reported between the years of 2007 and 2011 resulted from a lack of smoke alarms (or no working smoke alarms). Working fire alarms would have cut this number in half.
26 percent of families, according to the American Red Cross, have carefully developed and practiced a home fire escape plan. This is not acceptable! A fire escape plan practiced regularly saves lives.
Implement Fire Safety Measures Now
At Pro-Edge Property Management, we want to do our part in educating tenants and property owners about the dangers of fire, and what they should do if there’s ever a fire in their home; hence the reason for this month’s post.
We know that there is nothing more important than keeping your family safe! Materials can be replaced but lives cannot. One of the most important first steps you should take in keeping your family safe is to ensure you have the following equipment and that it works as it should:
- Working Smoke Alarms – Smoke alarms save lives; it’s as simple as that. Working smoke alarms should be installed in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home. They should additionally be tested once a month and replaced every 10 years.
- Carbon Monoxide Detectors – CO detectors can protect you from what is considered a “silent killer.” Detectors/alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.
- Fire Escape Ladders – Fire escape ladders offer residents a quick and easy escape from two and three story homes. Store on every level of your home for quick access.
- Working Fire Extinguishers – You should keep a fire extinguisher in the home in order to put out a small fire yourself or contain it until the fire department arrives. Select a multi-purpose extinguisher and install it close to your home’s exits as well as in the kitchen.
- Fire Resistant Lock Boxes – Protect your valuable documents, videos, pictures, jewelry and paperwork from fire damage with a fire resistant lock box or safe. There are many available styles available that can resist varying degrees of fire for varying degrees of time.
And, finally, you should always plan for any accidental fires – as The Great Chicago Fire taught us; they can destroy lives and property in an instant – by pulling your entire family together and regularly planning your escape. A good escape plan includes the following details:
- Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes. If you have children you may want to draw a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, and the location of the smoke alarm.
- Make sure everyone in your household understands the escape plan and that they must leave their belongings behind. If there are infants, older adults, or person with limited mobility assign someone to assist them.
- Inform all visitors and guests of your fire escape plan.
- Once you’re out, stay out, and dial 9-1-1!
- Choose an outside meeting place that is a safe distance away from your home where your entire household can meet once they’ve safely escaped your home. Mark this location on your floor plan.