Top Five Fire Safety Tips for the Home

October 7th marks the beginning of Fire Prevention Week. What better way to honor that week then to remind homeowners about the top ways to prevent fires. Below is a video blog (and transcript) on the top five fire safety tips for your home.

1. Cook Safely. Don’t leave your range unattended. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, cooking is the leading cause of reported home fires. It’s caused almost half of them since 1990. Most of those were due to unattended cooking. About 15% of these fires originated in ovens but most came from ranges. The solution is simple enough – as US News & World Reports puts it: stand by your pan.

2. Heat Safely. The second biggest fire threat is from home heating systems. Check wood stoves for cracks or anything that might compromise a hinge or leg. Don’t burn trash. It will build residue on your chimney, which along with your furnace, needs a professional cleaning at least once a

Also, any item that can burn needs to be at least a few feet away from heating equipment, especially troublesome accessories like space heaters. Space heaters are generally more dangerous than central heaters and send 6,000 Americans to the hospital every year.

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Top 5 Fire Escape Tips for Your Business

When a fire occurs in your place of business – no matter how many safeguards and fire suppression systems that you might have installed – the overriding concern is making sure that each and every employee evacuates as quickly as possible.

Business fire escape plans can face a number of challenges, including geographically-dispersed buildings, taller structures where exits are located far away from offices, and the presence of chemicals and other flammable materials that can pose substantial risk to evacuees.

In honor of National Fire Prevention week, October 7-13, 2012, here are five of the most important tips to consider when you’re putting together a business fire escape plan.

1. Fire Extinguisher Training. No one expects employees to risk their lives fighting a fire instead of evacuating as quickly as possible. That being said, by equipping an office, factory, or warehouse with an adequate number of fire extinguishers, as well as training workers in how to properly use them, it’s possible to give those trying to escape a better chance of making it outside the building safely. Fire extinguishers can be used en route to put out smaller fires blocking escape paths, or they can help keep flames under control until everyone can be safely evacuated from a section of the building.

2. Planning. Escape plans must be updated in order to reflect changes to the workplace – different cubicle assignments, new construction, or movement of inventory. It’s not enough to adopt a “set it and forget it” policy when it comes to fire escape planning. A reality check of each plan is also crucial to make sure that it avoids elevators, potential choke points where hallways become narrow, or exits into areas where obstacles, walls, or natural barriers would prevent workers from leaving the scene of the fire in a quick and efficient manner.

3. Practice. Practice. Practice. Escape drills should be done regularly – at least as often as you test your fire alarm system – and new employees should be introduced to the fire escape plan as quickly as possible. Designate fire leaders on each floor of your building and make sure they understand each escape route, the number of employees they are responsible for, and their roles in ensuring everyone has left the building safely. They can do that by taking a headcount.

4. Maintain Your MSDS Sheets. Material safety data sheets (MSDS) are important for companies that handle flammable chemicals or products. When planning fire escape routes, take into account the MSDS sheets associated with inventory stored in a given building, and avoid sending workers toward materials that could pose safety risks. Update escape plans as often as needed when new, potentially hazardous inventory is housed.

5. Keep Exits Clear And Unlocked. You know that door at the back of the warehouse that no one ever uses – the one with the Fire Exit sign illuminated over top of it? You need to ensure that the area immediately in front of the door – on either side of it – doesn’t become a stacking ground for boxes, equipment, or other items. It’s also crucial to keep these doors unlocked and unchained. If you must, install an alarm that goes off should the door be opened (for access control), but ensure that a push from the inside will instantly open it up and allow employees to escape.

5 Summer Fire Safety Tips

Summer weather means cookouts, Fourth of July fireworks, and all sorts of campfire fun as families across the country take advantage of the warm temperatures to get back in touch with nature.

It’s certainly relaxing to enjoy a beach bonfire with friends and loved ones, or roast marshmallows by the lake or in the backyard fire pit, but it’s also important to ensure that everyone stays safe by observing a few simple fire protection guidelines.

American Alarm would like to thank FEMA and the U.S. Fire Administration for their assistance in putting together this list of five summer fire safety tips: Read more