Since 1922, the National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA, has observed the second week of October as National Fire Prevention Week. This weeklong initiative was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which killed over 250 people, left 100,000 people homeless, burned more than 2,000 acres of land, destroyed over 17.400 structures, and caused an estimated $200 million in damages.

house-smoke-alarmIn honor of the week, here are five fire safety and fire prevention tips from the National Fire Protection Association to better prepare yourself and your family in the event of a home fire:

Make a plan.

According to a survey conducted by the NFPA, only one-third of Americans have both developed and practiced a home fire escape plan. Almost three-quarters have created an escape plan, but never practiced it. The NFPA suggests drawing a map of the home to show all potential escape openings (doors and windows) and go over the plan with your family or roommates so that everyone knows at least two possible escape routes from every room. Then, practice these plans and create an outside meeting place that is safe from the home.

Install smoke alarms.

The NFPA suggests testing all smoke alarms throughout the house at least once a month and replacing them all together every ten years. Smoke alarms should be installed on the inside and outside of each bedroom or sleeping area, on every level of the home, as well as in the basement of attic. Interconnected smoke alarms are the best option, so that when one alarm sounds, they all do. Special alarms featuring amplified sounds, bed shakes, or strobe lights are available for those with disabilities.

Carefully decorate for the holidays.

With Halloween only a few weeks away, the NFPA also has a few precautions to consider when decorating. They suggest staying away from long, trailing costume fabrics and to keep all spooky decorations away from open flames or other heat sources like light bulbs and heaters. Crepe paper, dried flowers, cornstalks, and paper decorations are all highly flammable and potentially dangerous. Jack-O-Lanterns should be lit with a battery-operated candle or glow stick instead of a real candle. Ideally, children should be taught to stop, drop, and roll in case of any highly flammable costume fabric does catch on fire.

Prep your pets.

While you should absolutely make sure that your pets are taken care of in your escape plan in the event of a house fire, you should also make sure that the pets do not accidentally cause the fire. All pets should be kept from stoves and countertops, and away from candles, lamps, space heaters, and away from the outside vents of chimneys.

Keep up appliances.

A study put together by the NFPA found that 48% of electrical fires that occurred in the home were started by electrical distribution or lighting equipment. This includes washers and dryers, fans, space heaters, air conditioning equipment, water heaters, and stoves. A professional should install washers and dryers and lint filters should be cleaned after every use of the dryer. Be aware of cooking equipment and keep anything that could be potentially flammable out of the way.

For more information about fire prevention, contact ATS at 727-478-0276 to learn what we can provide to keep you safe.