Buying a home? Check out our 5 steps for fire safety planning and keep your family fire safe!
Buying a home is a very exciting time in your life. All of your hard-earned money comes down to this moment! That is why having a fool-proof fire safety plan is essential for every homeowner.
House fires can be devastating. In 2016, a Port Colbourne rental property went up in flames. Four people were killed and the homeowner was recently convicted under the Ontario Fire Code and fined $100,000.
In 2016, the Ontario government reported that there were 7,169 structural loss fires (results in an injury, fatality, or dollar amount). That same year, there were 1,228 reported fires with no loss.
Unfortunately, house fires do occur. But, it is how you work to prevent them and handle them when they do occur that matters the most. The best way to avoid a house fire is by implementing a well-thought-out fire safety plan.
1. Ensure everyone is on the same page
For a fire safety plan to work, everyone in the house needs to know it and fully understand what to do in the event of a fire. If there is one part of the plan someone misses, the whole fire system you developed could quickly fall apart.
When you buy a home, develop a plan that includes everyone that lives under the same roof. Explain every point to ensure they all understand. Do a walk-thru and perform fire drills throughout the year to keep everyone current on proper procedure.
2. Locate escape routes
Every room in the house should have an escape route. There should be two escape paths leading out of every room in the house – a primary escape path and a secondary escape path. The first one is the desired path you would take unless it is blocked. In that case, you would take the secondary path.
3. Know how to escape
It is important to know the proper way of escaping a burning building, so including it in your fire safety plan is essential. First and foremost, everyone needs to get out as fast as possible. It doesn’t take much time for a fire to spread throughout an entire structure. The quicker you can escape, the better chance you have of not getting caught in the flames or smoke.
As you escape, crawl under the smoke. The smoke from a fire contains deadly gases if breathed in. Since heat rises and the smoke from the fire is hot, crawling closer to the floor is your best method of escaping.
4. Establish a meet-UP location
It is crucial that everyone in the household know where to meet up in case of a fire. The point of a meet-up location is to make sure that everyone is accounted for. If someone is missing, then you know he or she has not made it out of the house.
Your meet-up location is also the time to call emergency services. If you need to, use the phone at a neighbour’s house. As you wait for the fire department, never go back into a burning building.
5. Keep smoke detectors updated
It is required by law to have to have a smoke detector in every bedroom of the house. Any hallway that joins a bedroom is also required to have one, as well as every floor of the house. When installing them, they should be either on the ceiling or near the roof of the room, but never in corners (“dead air space”).
Your fire safety plan should include routine checks and maintenance of every smoke detector. Get in the habit of pressing the test button or even burning something that produces smoke (an incense stick is a great example). The purpose is to ensure the smoke detector is actually working. Also, replace the batteries at least once a year or when you hear the low battery “chirp.”
The more thorough your fire safety plan is, the better prepared you will be. We never want a fire to break out, but if it does, your fire safety plan could be the difference between injury (or death) and escaping without harm. So, include these five points in your fire safety plan and ensure the safety of everyone that lives under your roof.
For fire protection and life safety services check out Crownfire.