Guest Post – Fire Alarms, Flame Resistant Clothing, Escape Routes

Submitted by Stephanie Fehrmann; Westex

Firefighters across the nation take extra measures to protect themselves against fire damage. They wear fire protective clothing made of flame retardant fabrics for the times they come in direct contact with flame or other fire igniting substances. They also stay up to date with all the laws and regulations concerning fire safety both at the workplace and at home. But you too can make efforts to protect yourself against becoming the next victim of second or third degree burns or even unfortunate fatalities resulting from fires in the home.

Smoke Alarms:

It seems obvious, but according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, two-thirds of home fire deaths were the result of fires in homes with no smoke alarms or smoke alarms which were not working. Most households disable smoke alarms after they become a nuisance. Depending on the location, smoke alarms can be triggered by dust, cooking fumes, and even steam from a shower. Often times, the alarms are disabled and forgotten about. In addition to making sure your smoke alarms are working, the placement is important. Smoke alarms should be placed on every level of a home, including the basement and outside each separate sleeping area. 38 percent of all home fires and 51 percent of fire deaths occur in homes without smoke alarms.

Escape Routes:

While smoke alarms alert inhabitants of a fire danger, escape routes are also an important aspect of fire safety. Depending on where the fire is or how strong it may be, visibility may be drastically affected by the smoke. Escape routes can save lives and should be practiced at least once a month. When planning an escape route for you and your family, be sure to have at least two ways to get out of each room and a designated meeting place should be decided upon. When a smoke alarm sounds, leave the house as soon as possible and never return to a burning building. Additionally, make sure everyone living in the home is familiar with the sounds of a smoke alarm.

Avoid Flammable Clothing:

Although this is not outwardly recommended by fire professionals, one can minimize risk of injury from a fire by wearing flame-resistant clothing. Depending on one’s profession, such clothing may be mandatory for wear during work hours. As the result of a rule, which was adopted by the Department of Commerce in 1971, in most states it is illegal for children’s sleepwear to be made of fabric or material that is not flame resistant. In order for a product to pass a “flame resistant” test, the garments must self-extinguish when exposed to a flame for three seconds. As a parent, the most important thing you can do is educate yourself and stay informed about the laws and regulations in your area. By keeping up to date with fire laws and regulations in your area, making sure your smoke alarms are up to date, and taking the time to plan an escape route, you can protect your family from the dangers a fire can pose.

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Mike Morales

Retired Cal Fire/CDF Fire Captain

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