Home isn’t just the building that we live in. It’s a special place that provides shelter and warmth, it keeps us safe and protects the people and items that we treasure. Your home could be an apartment, a mobile home, a brick house or even a treehouse. It doesn’t matter what you call home, you want to protect it and those that share it with you.

AVOID A TRIAL BY FIRE: Preparation Beyond Prevention
Home

isn’t just the building that we live in. It’s a special place that provides shelter and warmth, it keeps us safe and protects the people and items that we treasure. Your home could be an apartment, a mobile home, a brick house or even a treehouse. It doesn’t matter what you call home, you want to protect it and those that share it with you.

AVOID A TRIAL BY FIRE: Preparation Beyond Prevention

“Home Safe Home”

is the new

“Home Sweet Home”

We cook, we sleep, we work, we charge our devices, we decorate and celebrate holidays all in the same space. Most of us don’t think about those activities in the context of a fire hazard. When we do, the picture gets a little… smokey? Because home fire preparedness can seem like a daunting task. The good news is you don’t have to become a fire expert to keep yourself and your family safe, thanks to organizations that you know and trust, like The Red Cross and Ready.gov. They provide loads of information on what causes most home fires. Here, we highlight some of the simple but essential steps you, your family and your friends can take to prevent them.

Why do we need to prepare for a home fire if we take the right steps now to prevent it? Because accidents happen. At AidTeam, we hope for “happy accidents”, where you can have some fun getting prepared for a potential fire. But serious accidents happen too, and when you’ve practiced your response to an emergency situation, you’ll be better equipped to respond calmly and quickly should the circumstance ever arise. According to the Red Cross, you may have as little as two minutes to skedaddle.

IN THE HOT SEAT

You probably know something about fire preparedness already. Remember “STOP, DROP and ROLL”? That’s still the best action to take if your clothing catches fire. Now to put you in the hot seat, let’s see how prepared you are: can you answer the following questions?

Check your readiness:

Know where the closest fire extinguisher is?
Feel comfortable using a fire extinguisher?
Do your smoke detectors “beep” when you test them?
Does everyone know the evacuation plan?
You know oil fires are different, right?

0

TOTAL

BURNING FOR ANSWERS

Don’t worry if you’re not sure! Get guidance on answering these questions and a whole lot more in the following video, where we tag along for a home fire examination. Basic walkthroughs like this can highlight gaps in your home safety plan. Imagine this conversation taking place in your own home, then brainstorm how you can make these recommended changes. Afterwards you can do your own walkthrough with the whole family and start ticking off tasks below to prepare for the event of an actual fire. Sit down with your household and watch together.

Click video to begin or watch on YouTube. Keep reading when finished.
That’s a lot of info, and we don’t have to do it all at once!
Check out the activities below to help you implement some of these changes around your own home. Where do you want to start?

If Something’s Cooking, Just Keep Looking!

We use our kitchen appliances so frequently that we may forget about their inherent danger. Commit to the following practices to make sure dinner stays tasty and not toasty:

  • NEVER leave the house while something is cooking

  • Make sure someone is always in the kitchen

  • Use a kitchen timer, or set a timer on your phone when cooking

  • Double-check that everything is turned OFF when no longer in use

Give Heat 3-Feet!

Some items have no business being near stoves or other heat sources. Here are some tips for keeping these “safety zones” cool:

  • While cooking, make the kitchen a no-go zone for kids and pets by blocking access if possible. As kids grow up, make a visual boundary with tape on the floor to mark a 3-foot adults-only area around the stove.
  • Stand at your stovetop and stretch out your arms. Can you reach any burnable items, like dish towels or even plasticware? If so, they’re too close; stash them in a drawer or further than 3-feet away.
  • No one wants a fireplace that doesn’t keep a fire in its place! Use doors or a screen, preferably made of glass, to prevent embers from jumping out. Maintain the 3-foot safety zone to keep anything else from accidentally falling in.
  • “Scorched” isn’t in style: things like curtains, books and bedsheets can ignite even if they’re not TOUCHING the heat source. Keep home decor and other flammable items 3-feet away from portable heaters.

Head Start at Home

Set yourself up for safety: take these steps to move your home toward hazard-free:

  • Catching fire or exploding unexpectedly…powers of a superhero? Maybe. More importantly, hazardous behavior of some household products like cleaners, paints and fuels. Store them in proper containers, use them only in well-ventilated areas, and dispose of them as directed.
  • Mowing the lawn isn’t everyone’s idea of an enjoyable activity, but keeping it green and well maintained will make it an asset rather than a liability if fire should strike.
  • Garages tend to collect clutter, which can be quick fire fuel. Use clear bins to keep long term storage tidy.
  • Secure the perimeter: store flammable items like wood and gas canisters at least 10 feet from the house.
  • Overloaded outlets are over: distribute cords and cables rather than crowding at one outlet. Promptly repair or replace any damaged electrical cords.
  • Give yourself a home-field advantage by knowing where utility shut-offs are located and how to operate them.
Using A Fire Extinguisher
Extend your Training:

Have burning questions about fire extinguishers? Put them out by getting to know all about that little red cylinder that could just be a lifesaver.

I’ve got 20 minutes!

What should I do RIGHT NOW?

Tackle these top priority items in a flash:
Check Your Smoke Detectors
  • Volunteers across the country are making house calls to install free smoke alarms through the Red Cross’s Sound the Alarm program. Check their site for events near you.
  • The National Fire Protection Agency literally writes the book on Installing and Maintaining smoke alarms. They’ll tell you how many you need and just where to put them.
Build Your Disaster Supply Kit
Draw Up Your Own Fire Escape Plan
  • Download a Template from the Red Cross and draw the floor plan of your home. No artistic talent needed!
  • Making a Fire Escape Plan includes identifying two ways out of each room. Bonus points for color-coding primary and secondary escape routes.
  • Make it second nature by practicing your Home Fire Escape Plan on the regular.
Sign Up For Emergency Alerts
Fema Mobile Application Logo
NOAA app Logo
Alert Wildfire App Logo

Western US Wildfire Monitoring and live cameras

Protect Your Home
  • Safeguard your home from a fire that starts OUTSIDE of it by creating a defensible space.
  • Your insurance policy isn’t exactly a bedtime story, but reviewing it now and reading up on fire insurance could save you many sleepless nights in the future.

I’ve got $100 burning a hole in my pocket, what can I get to protect my home?

Avoid the overwhelming results of an internet search and get the essentials at lightning speed.
2-in-1 Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs from improper use of home appliances like furnaces, ranges, water heaters and room heaters. It’s easier than ever to protect your family from this invisible killer, as 2-in-1 smoke detector and carbon monoxide detectors are now commonly available: Ace Hardware, True Value, The Home Depot, Lowes Hardware, Walmart.
  • Review how many you need and how to install them properly as Carbon monoxide detectors are a little different. The recommend place for the sensor is on a wall 5 feet above the floor or higher, this enables the detector to test what we commonly breathe in. Just like other detectors don’t install next to or above a heat source.
Fire Extinguishers
Doc and Cover
  • Protect your essential docs like birth certificates, deeds and even money in a fireproof document bag. Stash it near an exit for easy access in an emergency.

  • Where possible, go digital so your important documents will always be at your fingertips.

  • Not sure what to include? Check out these resources: Safeguard Valuables, Critical Documents, and Legal Documents for inspiration.
  • Don’t forget the Elderly and people with disabilities.
Old Flames
  • Hazardous burning candles have met their match with the evolving market of candlelight alternatives. Enjoy the soft glow while forgoing the fire risk AND the waxy mess with options like battery-operated candles or fairy lights.
  • If you’re still drawn to that natural flame, use, candles, responsibly.
Basic Supply Kit

Special Thanks to the experts: California Fire Foundation, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), American Red Cross, Ready.gov and all those who keep our homes safe.

California Fire Foundation

Last year, catastrophic wildfires burned millions of acres across California alone. Thank you California Fire Foundation for awarding us a special grant to help you prepare and respond to wildfires and other risks in your area.

Visit calfirefoundation.org/grants to learn more. @cafirefound | #wildfires

Check out more in the AidTeam Toolkit:

Check out more in the AidTeam Toolkit: