JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Home fires can start and spread quickly, which is why we need to be careful and educated when it comes to home fire safety. Just a little planning can make a big difference for you and your family. One of the main ingredients in home fire safety is having a fully functioning smoke alarm. Studies show that 87 percent of all fire-related deaths are because of home fires. There are many things in the home which can cause fires and many families are unprepared to take action should their house catch on fire. Having a plan can mean life or death and remember, fires are unpredictable and your plan needs to be adaptable to each situation.
Dan McKenna, Jones County fire coordinator, said many times those fatalities could have been avoided by simply thinking things out before a fire starts.
"The first thing you need to do is become cognizant of where you're at especially if it's in the middle of the night, utilize that escape plan, get outside and call 911 from outside or from your neighbor's home, don't try to go back in and try to fight the fire," McKenna said. "So you know having an alternative route, you need to plan ahead for a fire in all different locations of the home because fire doesn't pick a place where it's going to start."
Here are some helpful tips to remember when planning a fire safety plan:
- Working smoke alarms reduce the chance of dying in a fire by nearly 50 percent. They are a critical first step for staying safe but to be effective, they have to be working properly. For the best protection, install smoke alarms on every level of your home and in every room.
- Teach kids to never play with matches or lighters. Make a habit of placing these items away from young children.
- Create and practice a home fire escape plan with two ways out of every room in case of a fire.
- Children should know how to respond to the sound of a smoke alarm. Teach them to get low and get out when they hear the alarm go off. A child who is coached properly ahead of time will have a better chance of staying safe.
- Use common sense in the kitchen. Limit distractions when cooking and do not leave a hot oven unattended.
- Blow out candles before you leave an area for extended periods of time and especially before going to sleep.
Many of us consider our pets to be valued members of our family so it only makes sense to include them in our emergency fire planning strategies as well.