As the holiday season gets closer and winter sets in across the nation, fire safety should be at the forefront of everyone’s mind. With more fires burning in fireplaces and wood stoves and more home-cooking being done, the chances of a house fire grow. It’s important that we all pay attention to a few simple reminders so we limit the risk of inadvertantly starting – or allowing to spread – a house fire. This is a good review for your associates to remind your consumers about these dangers as they educate or upsell them.
Every home should have smoke detectors. As a general rule of thumb, at least one smoke detector per level of the home is good. To maximize early warning potential, it’s a good idea to have a smoke detector in the kitchen as well as in any room with a fireplace. A smoke detector in each bedroom is also a good idea since so many people sleep with their doors closed.
Set yourself a reminder to test the smoke alarms once a month. Whether it’s the first Saturday of each month or the last Sunday or whatever you prefer – put something on your calendar and do the checks. It only takes a few minutes and may end up saving lives. You should also replace the batteries twice per year: once in the spring and once in the fall. Most fire departments remind their communities to do with when we switch the clocks for daylight savings time.
While many people do the above, too few families have an escape plan in place; one that they’ve discussed, equipped for and practiced. Yes, it may look silly to your neighbors to have people climbing down fold-out ladders from second story windows but do you really want your children doing that for the first time while they’re in a panicked state trying to escape a fire behind them? Develop the plan. Discuss it as a family. Identify options. PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. We haven’t lost a child in a school fire in our country for decades because we’ve upgraded fire detection and suppression systems AND because schools do quarterly fire drills. Do them at least annually at home.
Speaking of children, make sure you keep flammables out of their reach. They should not have access to matches, lighters or candles. Now this, like other safety protocols, is up to each family’s perception as to when the child is responsible enough to have access to such. Active parenting and child safety education is required if you want your children to be safe around such items and since you can’t limit what they have access to at friends’ houses or in other locations, it’s best to educate them at home as young as possible.
One flammable that children really like – probably because we use them most often as part of a birthday celebration – is candles. We use candles to scent our homes and to light rooms when the power is out. For fire safety purposes, using flashlights instead of candles during power outages is a safer option. With advancements in LED technology, you can have reasonably bright lights that run for hours. Many outdoor LED solar light units have removable tops that contain both the light unit and the solar power cell. Leave them outside to charge and when you need light inside, unscrew the top and invert it on a table top. It’s like a candle… that can’t start a fire and “burns” for hours. If you DO use candles, never leave a candle burning unattended.
Most especially during the fall and winter months, space heaters are used more frequently. It’s a common but dangerous behavior to leave them plugged in and turned on in a room that’s unused. After all, you want that room comfortable when you come back into it, right? As a general rule, don’t leave space heaters turned on in empty rooms and make sure that when they are used there is nothing flammable within three feet all around.
Obeying these few simple rules can help reduce or remove the risk of fire inside your home. For retailers, educating your associates to educate the consumer can help upsell or redirect purchases to your advantage.