Fire Safety: Tips & Facts

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson goes over some shocking fire safety statistics and some very important fire safety tips. It'll cover these topics from both a home fire and wildfire angle.

Fire Safety

It seems like a no brainer nowadays: install a working smoke alarm. Why? Obviously to save your life in case there's a fire at home. But did you know that about 60% of all home fire deaths have occurred where there was either no smoke alarm or it wasn't working?

Let's find out about some more interesting facts about fires and some important fire safety tips in this lesson.


How much damage, dollar-wise, do you think home fires cost the U.S. every year? Is it:

A. $7 million

B. $70 million

C. $700 million

D. $7 billion

The answer is D! That's what happens when around 365,000 home fires occur every year in the U.S. In addition to all that monetary damage is something far worse, the cost in lives. Around 2,500 people die every year as a result of home fires. What's really dangerous is that most home fires occur between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., when people are sleeping!

Now, home fires aren't the only types of fires we need to fear. Wildfires are another big threat to property and lives. Around four out of five wildfires are started by, you guessed it, people. That doesn't mean every person intentionally sets out to destroy large amounts of land, property, and lives. But the point remains that a lot of these wildfires are preventable. In 2016 alone, there were 67,743 wildfires that destroyed 5,509,995 acres of land and 4,312 structures. Many firefighters have died battling these fires in order to save land, property, and the lives of others.


Home Safety

So, it's pretty clear that we must do all that we can in order to protect ourselves, our loved ones, others, and our property from fire. Let's see how this can be done with a few tips explained by hypothetical local resident Tim Morris.

Tim is very concerned about fires. He lives in a wooded area in Oregon, an area known for its wildfires. So he fears not only fires starting in his own home but fires coming from the surrounding hills, forests, and plains as a well. As a result, he's very proactive about fire safety.

First of all, he checks to make sure his home has the necessary amount of smoke alarms installed and that they are all in working order. Tim knows that a working smoke alarm decreases his chance of dying in a home fire by a whopping 50%! This is why he puts a smoke alarm on every level of his home as well as in every sleeping area. He tests them once a month. At least twice a year, Tim brings his entire family together and they plan and practice a fire escape procedure.

Next, Tim is very cognizant that the leading causes of home fire injuries stem from cooking equipment and heating equipment. Tim makes sure that all of his kitchen appliances, especially the stove, as well as the furnace, chimney, and electric heaters are in proper working order. Tim is aware that about 33% of home fires start partly as a result of unattended cooking, so he is always in the kitchen when he's making something to eat.


Tim also loves to cook outdoors using a small and carefully prepared campfire. But he is very aware of the dangers of starting a wildfire as a result of this. First, Tim always monitors the local wildfire advisory warnings and never starts a fire if the forest rangers strictly forbid doing so or advise not doing so. Next, he always has a fire extinguisher handy just in case. He also keeps plenty of water and a shovel nearby. The shovel can be used to throw sand on a fire that's beginning to get out of control. When he's finished using the campfire he drenches it completely with water.

Only you can prevent wildfires, 80% of the time!
Only you can prevent wildfires, 80% of the time!

Of course, not everyone is like Tim. Some people don't follow good fire safety practices. So, Tim must always be prepared for wildfires starting somewhere else. He prepares his home for this possibility by doing a few things:

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