Are you one of the many people who don’t test their smoke alarms regularly? October is National Fire Prevention Month – making it an excellent time to examine your preparedness of a household fire. National Fire Prevention Month is sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and has roots that date back to The Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
Fire escape plan: In an emergency, every second counts. House fires are one of the most common disasters people face in this country so it is important that everyone has a fire escape plan that is practiced regularly. Doors serve as a primary exit route while windows provide a secondary means of escape. Identify and mark at least two escape routes from each room and mark the locations of fire extinguishers and smoke detectors. Make sure your windows open easily from inside and are not blocked by furniture or other objects.
Smoke detectors: Did you know that working smoke alarms have been shown to cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half? Test your smoke detectors every month to ensure that the devices are fully operational. If you have any concerns regarding your smoke detector, please contact your property’s maintenance department.
Fire extinguishers: A portable fire extinguisher can be used to put out small fires or containing the fire until the fire department arrives. Because fires grow and spread rapidly, the number one priority for residents is to get out safely. It is important that the fire department has been called or is being called and that the room is not filled with smoke.
To operate a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS:
- P - Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.
- A – Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
- S – Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
- S – Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.
Careful cooking: Cooking is the leading cause of home fires. Never leave cooking unattended and keep a clean work area. Avoid leaving dish towels on top of your stove or hanging from your oven.
Electrical safety: To avoid electrical fires, never overload an outlet or use equipment with frayed and damaged power cords not only pose a serious threat of electrical shock but are also a fire hazard.
Fireplace safety: If your home has a fireplace, it’s important to familiarize yourself with fireplace safety. Seasoned dense wood, like oak, that has been split and dried is best to burn; while green, softwoods like pine are not good for use in fireplaces. Use a spark guard to prevent sparks from leaping out of the fireplace. If you have any concerns about the cleanliness of your chimney please contact your property’s maintenance department before using the fireplace.
Balfour Beatty Communities takes resident safety seriously and want to ensure that all of our residents are prepared. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the safety of your home, please, as always, contact your property’s maintenance department and in the instance of a fire always call 911.