Here's a sobering fact: Each year, more than 2,500 people die and 12,600 are injured in house fires in the United States. Although it might seem a fire could never happen in your home, crazy stuff can happen. Protect yourself—and make fire safety a priority.
Smoke Alarms Are a Big Deal
A Word From the Experts
According to the Cinnaminson Fire Department in New Jersey, it's a good idea to roll your sleeves up before you start cooking. The firefighters there protect this quaint community where we have lots of new homes. Cinnaminson is an eastern suburb of Philly—and a great place to come visit.
- According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), almost two-thirds of home fire deaths occurred because the smoke alarms didn't work—test your alarm monthly.
- Unless they're 10-year lithium batteries, replace the batteries in 9-volt smoke alarms—and the back-up batteries in hard-wired alarms—once a year. One way to remember: Replace the batteries every time we switch to and from daylight savings time.
- All smoke alarms should be totally replaced every eight to 10 years.
Respect Your Appliances
- All your light fixtures should include bulbs with the correct wattage. The manufacturer usually includes a sticker around the light socket area indicating the maximum wattage.
- Always replace any appliances that spark, smell funny, or overheat.
- Keep clothes, blankets, curtains, towels, and other items that can easily catch on fire at least three feet from space heaters—and keep them unplugged when not in use.
- Ditto for kitchen stove burners—curtains and dish towels can catch on fire in an instant.
- Don't trap electric cords against walls where heat can build up.
Fire Extinguisher Know-How
- Choose an “A-B-C” fire extinguisher for your home. They can put out a wide variety of fires such as: Ordinary fires in materials such as cloth, wood, and plastics; flammable liquid fires which originate from grease, gasoline, and oil; and fires started from electrical appliances.
- Learn how to use your extinguisher before an emergency. The honchos at FEMA offer some great tips on handling and testing fire extinguishers. Do yourself a favor—read them.
In the Bedroom
- According to FEMA, most candle fires begin in the bedroom—more than in any other room in the house. Be super-careful where you light a candle in the bedroom, and never fall asleep with one lit.
- Do you have an old mattress? You might want to replace it. Mattresses made since 2007 are the safest around—that's when the Federal Mattress Flammability Standard came into effect.
Fireplace & Grill Care
- Only wood should be burned in a fireplace—paper and other materials can escape while burning and can ignite nearby items like furniture and throw pillows.
- Grease or fat buildup in the tray below a grill can be ignited by heat. Clean it periodically.
- Never store propane cylinders in your house or garage. If you store your gas grill inside during the winter, disconnect the cylinder and leave it outside.
Ryan Homes Tip: We're all for do-it-yourself projects, but studies have shown that many home fires are caused by improper installation of electrical devices. When in doubt, call an electrician.