In 2020, 74 Hoosiers died during a residential fire. The number of fire-related deaths in the state can be reduced by following a few safety tips and preparing before a fire occurs.
Fire Safety Tips
- Alternative Heating
Alternative-heating equipment should be the last option used to heat a household due to the potential for uncontrolled fire, but if unavoidable, caution should be practiced.
- Campfire Safety
The National Interagency Fire Center reports an average of more than 60,000 wildfires are caused by people every year, burning millions of acres. The campfires used to toast marshmallows and hot dogs are a factor in this number. These sources of heat and light are a major part of camping trips, but wildfires aren’t the only hazard associated with the blazes. Taking a little time to practice safety will help make the trip safe for everyone.
- Carbon Monoxide
Every year, hundreds of people die from carbon monoxide gas poisoning. This can be prevented by watching for symptoms, testing alarms and regularly checking common carbon monoxide producers for issues.
- Fire Escape
- Fire Extinguishers
- Open Burning
Open burning is the burning of materials in a manner that releases smoke and other emissions directly into the air without passing through a chimney or smokestack from an enclosed chamber. Pollution from open burning is a serious concern because it can harm human health and the environment.
- Smoke Alarms Recall Notice: Kidde Alarms: The National Association of State Fire Marshals informed Indiana about a recall of Kidde smoke alarms in June 2021. No alarms distributed through the Get Alarmed program were involved, but departments and residents are encouraged to share the recall information and check their alarms. Read the notice
Smoke Alarm Safety
Properly installed and maintained smoke alarms provide the entire household an early warning of a fire. In fact, a home with properly placed and working smoke alarms doubles the likelihood of survival. Help keep every loved one safe by learning how to install and maintain smoke alarms.
- Alarms should be replaced every eight to 10 years. Over time, their sensors become less sensitive.
- Smoke alarms should be tested every month to make sure the batteries are still working.
- In smoke alarms that use traditional batteries, batteries should be changed once a year to make sure the alarm will continue to work.
- Install smoke alarms on every level, in every sleeping area and outside every bedroom of the building.
Ionization vs. Photoelectric
Every smoke alarm may appear to be the same, but there is some difference between the two most common models.
- Ionization: This type of smoke alarm reacts more quickly to a flaming, fast-moving fire.
- Photoelectric: This type of smoke alarm senses a smoldering, smoky fire more quickly.
- For maximum safety, install a mix of ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms on every floor.
Smoke Alarm Installation
The National Fire Protection Association reports that in about two-thirds of home fire deaths, no working smoke alarm was found.
- Install smoke alarms on every level, inside every bedroom and outside each sleeping area of the building.
- Place alarms on the ceiling or high on a wall.
- Alarms should be placed no closer than 10 feet from a stove, as everyday cooking may be a trigger.
- Hearing-limited or deaf individuals can use alarms with strobe lights and bed shakers.
- Hard-wired alarms need to be installed by a professional.
- Consider purchasing a combined smoke and carbon monoxide alarm, especially if the home uses gas appliances.
The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) created a few helpful resources, including a series of pictographs to help educate the public on fire prevention. Several topics addressed in the pictographs are smoke alarm safety and where to place smoke alarms in the home. For a brief walkthrough about the proper placement of smoke alarms, the USFA has made a video available on the agency’s YouTube channel.
Smoke Alarm Maintenance
Installing smoke alarms is important, but they need to be maintained to help make sure the household stays safe. In 17 percent of fatal home fires, smoke alarms were found in the residence but weren’t working.
- Smoke alarms should be tested every month to make sure they are still working.
- In smoke alarms that use traditional batteries, they should be changed once a year.
- Alarms should be replaced every eight to 10 years. Over time their sensors become less sensitive.
Setting off fireworks is a popular activity, but one that can cause serious injury or death if proper precautions are not followed. Learn helpful tips and become familiar with state fireworks laws to keep everyone safe while using fireworks.