There are many types of fires, but we’ll stay on the “accidental” types this time – after all, those are the most common ones, and unless you’ve accumulated some pretty disturbed enemies, you probably needn’t worry too much about floodlights and guard dogs to ward off fires… So. You’ve bought (and hopefully installed) all the latest security features for your house; the high-tech alarm systems, the remote controlled cameras, and every other gizmo and gadget you can find.
But you’re missing something.
Yes, your family can sleep safe and sound in the knowledge that anyone trying to break into your home is going to face a challenge greater than the messed up stuff the most grueling reality TV programs could throw at them.
But – and there’s always one of those, isn’t there – there is another danger in the home that is just as serious. A killer that can strike at any time and strike faster than any home invader.
There’s nothing wrong with kitting your home out with the topmost security system you can find on the market. That doesn’t mean you can forget about fires. Here are a few tips you should keep in mind to make sure your family stays safe from accidental fires in the home.
- Invest in a Quality Smoke Alarm
You may have heard the expression, ‘Fire kills in minutes. Smoke kill in seconds.’ Even if you haven’t heard that before, it’s still true. That means that if you want to stand the best chance of getting yourself and your family out of your house in the least amount of time, you’re going to need to invest in a smoke alarm.
A good smoke alarm. Not one that runs out of batteries after a few weeks. One that you can rely on and trust to save your life in an emergency.
In fact, get a few of those puppies. The general rule is to place one on each level of your home, and then some. Once they are installed, test the batteries – if it runs on batteries – bi-weekly and make sure that they work. Remember, these little devices could save all your asses. Sorry – your lives, that is.
Even better, connect your smoke alarm to your home security system. This is especially important when you’ve got a system which rings up the cops, or a private security company. This means your system will send an alert as soon as your smoke alarm is triggered, and the bright blue lights of the emergency services will light up your neighborhood that much sooner.
- Set Up Sprinklers
When you hear the word ‘sprinklers’ your mind probably wanders to the system set up in – or on – your front lawn, making sure your grass is the greenest in the neighborhood, and certainly as green as as the one on the other side of the fence. But there’s another kind of sprinkler that has nothing to do with grass and everything to do with saving your home and the people within it from fire.
You see sprinklers in public buildings and hotels all the time, so why not have them in your house? A high-tech sprinkler system may not get you out of the house as quickly as a smoke alarm, but it can sure help to keep any blaze under control and it might just save your home from complete destruction. That said… you should probably make sure you never set that thing off by accident… water damage is a real bitch to deal with – both for you and your wallet.
- Plan Your Escape
The above systems are both excellent ways to minimize the risks posed by fire in the home. But they will all count for nothing unless you have your plan of action. Have you ever seen ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’ where Ben Stiller constantly drills his sons to see how quickly they can get out of the house in the event of a fire? That is exactly what you should be doing.
OK, you don’t have to be quite so extreme, but having an escape route planned and carrying out the odd drill is not going to hurt anyone, and in an emergency you don’t always have time to think things through clearly.
- Prevention is Better than Cure
Finally, the best way to avoid a fire is to prevent one from occurring in the first place, and that generally means avoiding dangerous habits in the home. Most fires are avoidable, and avoiding bad habits like keeping candles burning when you go to sleep, failing to put out cigarette stubs properly (a major cause of fires), and plugging 100 different devices into the same plug is going to go a long way to keeping your house a fire-free zone.
- Stay Safe from Fire in Your Home
By all means get yourself the latest home security system to keep you and your family safe. But don’t forget about the risk posed by fire. The danger is real, and all of your extra security measures will stand for nothing if you don’t have a plan of action in place for how to prevent and deal with fires.
This article was contributed by Jim Dalton. He’s a safety and security expert for both homes and businesses. He’s currently working for a leading alarm and home automation provider in Canada.