Unfortunately, it is impossible to guarantee that a fire will never impact you or your family, especially since you may not be able to control many of the situations that give rise to dangerous house fires, including faulty wiring and defective appliances, just to name a few.
However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't do everything possible to reduce the risk of injury to yourself and your family should a fire tragically occur in your home. Some of the steps you can take to improve your home's fire safety include:
- Install smoke detectors: Every house and apartment should have smoke detectors installed. Not only are they required by code, but they can also save your life if a fire ever occurs. Consider having them throughout your home, including alarms on every floor and one in every bedroom.
- Check the smoke detectors: Once you have your alarms installed (or if they are already installed), periodically check their batteries and make sure they are in good working order.
- Have a plan in place: Create an escape plan so your family knows what they should do and where they should go if a fire were to break out. This can avoid unnecessary confusion, especially if the fire occurs at night.
- Remove bars from windows: If your escape windows have bars that make it impossible to exit, remove them or install special gates with locks/security latches that open from the inside. If you rent your home, contact your landlord and tell them to do this for your -- and warn them that the bars over the windows may be in violation of the building/fire rules of New York City.
- Check your appliances: If you think your appliances may be defective or simply in need of a tune up, it is good to have them inspected to make sure they are in good working order. This is particularly true with appliances such as furnaces, space heaters and water heaters.
With a little planning and diligence, you can greatly improve your chances of avoiding burn-related injuries in a house fire. However, even with planning, injuries can occur, especially when dealing with defective heaters or circumstances involving inadequate fire escapes. If these situations happen to you, it is important to remember that you may have legal options available.