Fires have always posed a serious risk and continue to represent a very real danger in the United States. Fire departments respond to a fire every 25 seconds and fire is a real risk that disproportionately impacts vulnerable populations such as the elderly and children. This is why the National Fire Protection Association’s Fire Prevention Week – which has been going on for more than 90 years – is so important.
More attention needs to be drawn to fire safety and to the overall aim of reducing the rate of deadly fires in this country. Fire Prevention Week kicks off a weeklong campaign to raise that awareness, and the American Chemistry Council’s North American Flame Retardant Alliance (NAFRA) commends NFPA’s long-standing efforts.
Families should implement various fire safety measures from smoke alarms to purchasing home products containing flame retardants that have been proven to help stop or slow the spread of fire. In situations of fire, seconds matter and every measure helps. Here are five general fire safety tips to make sure that you have all the fire prevention tools to keep you and your family safe.
- Keep a working smoke alarm in every bedroom. This year’s Fire Prevention Week focuses on working smoke alarms in every bedroom since roughly half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., when most people are asleep.
- Make sure any open flames are out before you leave your house and before going to bed. Always check candles and even smoldering items such as cigarette butts when leaving the home and before going to bed. While on average, products with flame retardants can withstand an open flame longer than non-flame retarded products, fires can spread quickly when no one’s home or if everyone’s asleep.
- Draw up and practice a home escape plan. Draw a map of your home clearly indicating all exits, including doors and windows. Make sure everyone in the family is familiar with the plan and practice the escape plan with family regularly.
- Always have a fire extinguisher in the home, especially in the kitchen. Fires can happen quickly, especially when cooking. It’s helpful to have a fire extinguisher in the house with easy access.
- Fire escape ladders can provide an alternative escape route. Especially useful for a multi-level home or in an apartment building, fire escape ladders can provide another way to escape a burning home. The most effective fire escape plans have multiple escape routes that are especially helpful in multi-family residential buildings such as apartment buildings.
 National Fire Protection Association. “Fires in the U.S.,” http://www.nfpa.org/research/reports-and-statistics/fires-in-the-us