Every year, thousands of people die as a result of fires with many more sustaining injuries. Out of all reported and non-reported fire incidents, majority of them occur in residential areas. In light of this, it means that you are more at risk of fire in your home than anywhere else. By taking a few time-tested precautionary steps, you can prevent such a disaster from taking place. On the other hand, if it does occur, these tips will help you survive through it. The most important thing is to remain vigilant and plan for any eventuality.

1. Install a smoke alarm

Smoke alarms are readily available in hardware stores at an affordable cost. Every home should have at least one such alarm. With a smoke alarm installed in the kitchen, living room and bedrooms, chances of
surviving a house fire are greatly enhanced. Have the alarm tested on a monthly basis and replace its battery once in a year. Generally, smoke alarms have a ten year life expectancy.

2. Take preventive measures

Overloading extension cords and other circuits is a sure way of triggering an electric fire. Avoid it at all costs. On the other hand, never place electric cables beneath carpets. Whenever you spot sparks, smoke or
sense an unusual smell coming from an electric appliance, shut it off and unplug it immediately. Take the appliance for repairs as soon as you can.

3. Use electrical devices in the appropriate manner

The first thing to do whenever you buy an appliance is to read the manufacturer’s manual. This contains tips on safety precautions and what you should do to enjoy using the product. Never ignore warning
signs such as sparks, unusual smells, shorts and overheating. Always keep all appliances unplugged whenever you are not using them. For the safety of small children, never leave power appliances within their reach. Cover unused outlets using safety caps.

4. Teach children never to play with fire

Children under the age of five are naturally curious. They love to pick things and play around with them. They also like to imitate what adults, especially their parents, do. You can be sure that your child has seen you strike a match on one or many occasions. The child already knows that inside that box of matches are sticks that produce “magic” when struck in the way mummy or daddy does. Teach your child to never play with matches.

5. Have an escape plan

Depending on the design of your house, develop a fire escape plan that everyone can use. Teach all family
members that if at the house was to catch fire, they should escape from it while staying as near to the floor as possible. No one should attempt to open a door using bare hands as the door might be hot.
Identify a location outside but within the compound where all family members can converge soon after they escape from the fire. Once the first person gets out, he/she should shout for help. Practice this drill on a frequent basis and ensure that everyone understands it.

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