5 Tips for Fire Safety in Your Home The importance of fire safety cannot be underscored. At a recent press conference hailing his heroics in saving a neighbor from her burning home, Newark, NJ Mayor Cory Booker was pictured holding a DVD set called “Fire Is…”. These now famous DVDs were conceived by Dr. Frank Field, a retired reporter and meteorologist, to help combat fire ignorance. He designed the video series for children age 5-7 in the hopes of preventing more needless tragedies. You can see a compilation of the videos here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMs6RgsGBnE At Paul Davis Restoration of Maine & Central Maine, there’s nothing more important to us than your family’s safety. We’ve put together a list of fire safety tips drawn from Dr. Field’s videos that you can use in your home right now. Although simple, these tips may surprise you and are certainly extremely important—they could mean the difference between a tragedy and a close call. Check your smoke alarms…and keep checking them! Time is of the essence in a fire, and the quickest (and noisiest) indicator there’s a fire in your home is your smoke detector. Your smoke alarm just might save your life, so it’s important you change the batteries regularly. Experts recommend replacing all your smoke alarms’ batteries twice a year. An easy way to remember is to swap out the batteries when you change your clocks forward and backward every March and November. And do a monthly test of your alarms to make sure they’re working properly—it takes under five minutes and will help keep your family and home safe! Keep potential dangers out of reach As the video notes, fire is fascinating to young children. But when a child gets his or her hands on a match, tragedy can strike in the blink of an eye. If you have children, store all of your matches and lighters up high, out of the reach of curious eyes. Even better? Consider purchasing a lockbox and placing all potential fire starters in it. Lock it up and place it on a high shelf—and then have a chat with your children about the dangers of playing with fire! Test your escape routes When smoke detectors sound, you and your family need to be prepared to escape as quickly as possible. Test escape routes from every room in your home. Do your windows and doors open easily? Are they big enough for everyone to fit through? Do you have fire escape ladders if you need to exit from the second or third floor? Map out a potential escape route for every room and make sure your entire family knows how to safely exit and where to go in case of an emergency. Be prepared A house fire isn’t like the fires we see in movies—as the video explains, real house fires are dark and smoky, not bright. Keep a flashlight and small bell in every bedroom in your home. If there’s a fire, you’ll be able to use the flashlights to see when escaping. Teach young children not to hide from the fire, but to escape with the help of the flashlight. The bells will help your family find one another if the smoke makes it difficult to speak or if anyone is injured; it also can help firefighters locate a trapped member of your family. Be smart Many house fires are preventable, so make sure you’re making smart decisions to protect your family! If you’re using a space heater, keep it at least three feet away from anything flammable, and never leave it on overnight or when you’re out of the house. If you or someone in your home is a smoker, take extreme precautions; never smoke in bed and always make sure every cigarette is fully extinguished before throwing it away. Also, the chef in your family shouldn’t wear shirts with baggy or billowing sleeves, and he or she should never pour water on a grease fire—always smother the fire with a pan lid, then turn off the burner. Finally, be wary of any appliance that starts smoking or smells odd. Stop using it, unplug it immediately and take it to be repaired or replaced as soon as possible. These small precautions could mean the difference between life and death! Paul Davis Restoration of Maine & Central Maine, Servicing: Bangor, Old Town, Lewiston, Portland and the surrounding areas.