A home fire inspection should be on every homeowner’s to-do list. A fire inspection can help you identify potential hazards and create a plan for the worst case scenario. Being prepared, knowing the evacuation route, and maintaining the right fire safety equipment are necessary steps to protect your family in the event of a fire.
Start the inspection on the outside of your home
Step 1: Check that your house number is prominently displayed. It’s important that fire rescue teams are able to easily identify the house number when responding to a 911 call.
If your house is more than 50 feet from the road, you need to have a house number displayed at the end of the driveway.
Step 2: Identify fire exits. Key windows and doors need to be accessible for escape from a burning home.
Make sure that all doors are unobstructed by trees, plants, or household items. Windows should also be clear of obstacles in case they need to be used as an emergency exit.
Evaluate fire safety equipment within your home
Step 1: Check that smoke detectors are properly installed throughout your home. Smoke detectors need to be installed outside of all bedrooms within 10 feet of the door. In the kitchen, there are additional steps you can take to prevent fires.
In addition, smoke detectors should be placed at the bottom of the stairs on each level of your home.
Step 2: Replace smoke detector batteries every six months. This might seem excessive, particularly considering the lifespan of some types of batteries, but experts advise changing smoke detector batteries every six months.
You can always reuse the batteries in other items if they still have some life left, but don’t gamble on essential safety items like smoke detectors.
Your home fire inspection should include checking and replacing batteries in all smoke detectors. Be sure to change the batteries all at the same time so that you can maintain a schedule.
Step 3: Check the gauge on your home fire extinguisher. It’s a good idea to have a fire extinguisher on hand for emergencies. Models like this one by First Alert are relatively inexpensive and easy to use.
If you have a fire extinguisher, be sure to check the gauge to ensure that it is charged and ready to use. The local fire department in your area might even refill existing fire extinguishers free of charge.
Create an evacuation plan
Step 1: Plan for two ways to escape each room in your house. You should identify two exits for each room in your home in the event of a fire. For upper levels, this might require a fire ladder which can be purchased online. Fire ladders are easy to use and can be installed quickly when needed.
Step 2: Designate a meeting place for emergencies. Decide on a specific meeting place outside of your home in the event of an emergency.
The meeting place should be a safe distance from the house where everyone can easily gather if there is a fire or other emergency.
Step 3: Discuss and practice the evacuation plan with your family. Your entire family should discuss and practice the evacuation plan every six months.
Each member of your family should know the best way to escape each room and follow the planned evacuation route.
In emergency situations, preparation and practice are key. In the event of a fire, you should always have the proper alert systems like smoke detectors, and your family should be comfortable executing the evacuation plan. Following these guidelines won’t necessarily prevent a fire, but it will help ease the distress of an unexpected situation.