Prevention

Smoke Alarms:

  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home.
  • Test your smoke alarms every month.
  • When a smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside.
  • Replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years
  • In 2007-2011, smoke alarms sounded in half of the home fires reported to U.S. fire departments.
  • Three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  • No smoke alarms were present in more than one-third (37%) of the home fire deaths.
Home Fire Sprinklers:

Automatic sprinklers are highly effective and reliable elements of total system designs for fire protection in buildings. According to an American Housing Survey, 4.6% of occupied homes (including multi-unit) had sprinklers in 2009, up from 3.9% in 2007, and 18.5% of occupied home built in the previous four years had sprinklers.

  • 85% of all U.S. fire deaths occur in the home.
  • Home fire sprinklers can control and may even extinguish a fire in less time than it would take the fire department to arrive on the scene.
  • Only the sprinkler closest to the fire will activate, spraying water directly on the fire. In 84% of home fires where the sprinklers operate, just one sprinkler operates.
  • If you have a fire in your home, the risk of dying is cut by about one-third when smoke alarms are present (or about half if the smoke alarms are working), while automatic fire sprinkler systems cut the risk of dying by about 80%.
  • In a home with sprinklers, the average property loss per fire is cut by about 70% (compared to fires where sprinklers are not present.)
  • The cost of installing home fire sprinklers averages $1.35 per sprinklered square foot.

 Fire Extinguishers:

A portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives; but portable extinguishers have limitations. Because fire grows and spreads so rapidly, the number one priority for residents is to get out safely. Safety Tips:

  • Use a portable fire extinguisher when the fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and is not growing; everyone has exited the building; the fire department has been called or is being called; and the room is not filled with smoke.
  • To operate a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS:   - Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle     pointing away from you, and release the locking     mechanism.   - Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.   - Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.   - Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.
  • For the home, select a multi-purpose extinguisher (can be used on all types of home fires) that is large enough to put out a small fire, but not so heavy as to be difficult to handle.
  • Choose a fire extinguisher that carries the label of an independent testing laboratory.
  • Read the instructions that come with the fire extinguisher and become familiar with its parts and operation before a fire breaks out. Local fire departments or fire equipment distributors often offer hands-on fire extinguisher trainings.
  • Install fire extinguishers close to an exit and keep your back to a clear exit when you use the device so you can make an easy escape if the fire cannot be controlled. If the room fills with smoke, leave immediately.
  • Know when to go. Fire extinguishers are one element of a fire response plan, but the primary element is safe escape. Every household should have a  and working smoke alarms.