Have you set up a house fire safety plan for you and your family? If you've stopped at installing smoke detectors in every room of your house, designing an emergency exit plan, and making sure your family knows how to contact the local fire department, your plan is lacking. Read on to learn about three surprising house fire safety errors you're probably making, and how to fix them.
You've Selected The Type Of Fire Alarm That You Think Best Suits Your Needs
There are two types of residential fire alarms -- ionization and photoelectric. Ionization alarms are really good at sensing rapidly growing flames, such as would be created if an accelerant were involved in a fire. Grease fires, paper fires, and gasoline fires would quickly trigger ionization alarms to sound.
Photoelectric alarms are better suited for detecting slow, smoldering fires. The burning of organic materials such as untreated wood, cotton, and wool generally create the low-smolder that photoelectric alarms are designed to respond to.
Unfortunately, the two of these fire alarm types are often differentiated by how sensitive they are to ordinary kitchen activity. When presented with a choice, it's tough not to be inclined to choose the fire alarm that won't alert the whole house when you happen to leave a pizza in the oven for a few minutes too long.
In reality, though, you shouldn't be making a choice between these two types of fire alarms. They're made to detect different kinds of fires, and for full protection, you should have both ionization alarms and photoelectric alarms (or combination alarms that detect both fast fires and low-smolder fires) installed in every room of your home.
The answer to frequent cooking-caused false alarms is not installing only ionization alarms; instead, keep your ionization fire alarms, but use them in conjunction with photoelectric fire alarms with silencing buttons. These buttons allow for fast response to false alarms.
You're Expecting Your Standard Smoke Alarms To Wake Up Your Kids
Growing children require more deep sleep than adults do. And because they spend more time in deep sleep, they're less likely to hear the tones of standard smoke alarms through their slumber. Furthermore, because the sounds of the alarms are unfamiliar to many children, they often try to ignore the noises and just go back to sleep when they do hear them.
One study shows that only 58 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 12 awaken to the 100 decibel-loud tone of standard smoke alarms. If you're relying on the sound of your smoke alarms alone to alert your child of a house fire, it's time to reconsider your fire safety plan.
If you have young children, consider installing more advanced fire alert system in their rooms. There are wireless systems on the market that respond with auditory, visual, and tactile alerts. You could get a setup that simultaneously makes noise, flashes strobe lights, and shakes your child's bed and pillow as soon as the system is triggered by smoke or flame.
Above all, though, always have an adult assigned to go to and assist small children in the event that a fire alarm is sounded. Have all fire alarms in your home connected, so the one nearest your bedroom will automatically be triggered as soon as any other alarm in the house is.
You've Got The Fire Department On Speed Dial
A house fire can grow out of control in as little as three minutes. If a fire erupts in your home, your top priority is not to phone the fire department -- it's to get you and your family out of the house and away from the dangerous flames and toxic smoke.
While you want a fire rescue team to arrive as soon as possible, every second you spend inside your burning home boosts the likelihood that you'll be injured or killed. What's the solution? Sign up for a fire alarm monitoring service from a company like Fyr Fyter Inc. These services connect your alarm system to a central station. When a fire alarm goes off in your home, trained employees at that central station will be notified immediately, and they'll phone your local fire department so no time is wasted in getting help to your home.
In the event of a fire, you've got no time to stop and use your house phone or grab your cell phone off its charger; let someone else worry about phoning the fire department and you just concentrate on getting your family to safety.
House fires account for roughly 12,600 injuries and 2,500 fatalities in the United States each year. Luckily, you can lower the odds of yourself or a family member being harmed by using the above information to revamp your fire safety plan.