According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), about 600 lives are lost every year in fires that originate in the bedroom. The causes of these fires are wide ranging, from smoking in bed to faulty electrical equipment, but one fact remains certain – almost every one of them could have been avoided.
Nothing is 100 percent effective at preventing a fire from breaking out but there are plenty of things you can do to reduce the chances of one breaking out in your bedroom. Here are a few tips you should implement immediately to lower your risk of a bedroom fire.
Tip #1 – Never Smoke in Bed
Smoking in bed is one of the most common causes of bedroom-related fires and because people are usually asleep when the fire starts, mortality rates tend to be high in these instances. While it can be difficult to kick the habit entirely, not smoking in bed is doable and highly recommended for your safety.
Tip #2 – Replace Pre-2007 Mattresses
In 2007, the government passed the Federal Mattress Flammability Standard which requires all mattress manufacturers to make their mattresses according to certain fire-proofing standards. If you have a mattress that pre-dates the standard, then it should be replaced so your bedroom is equipped with the safest possible mattress.
Tip #3 – Install Working Smoke Detectors
A smoke detector should be placed outside each bedroom door and on every level of the home, including the basement. Ideally, the smoke detector will be hard-wired with a battery back-up. In order to ensure constant protection, make a habit of replacing the batteries in the smoke detectors when you change your clocks for daylight savings time.
Tip #4 – Keep Matches and Lighters Hidden
More than 35,000 fires are started every year by children playing with matches or lighters and more than 400 of these fires prove fatal. If you must have lighters or matches in your home, keep them stored somewhere where your child will not have access to them. Teaching your child about fire safety and how it is not something to play with will help give him or her healthy respect for fire which will reduce the chances of your child playing with it.
Tip #5 – Inspect Electrical Appliances Regularly
Bedroom electrical appliances should be checked regularly to help lower the risk of one starting a fire. Extension cords should be in good shape and without evident fraying or cuts in the insulation. Be careful you don’t trap any electrical cords between furniture and the wall or floor and only use appliances and power cords that are UL-Listed.
Tip #6 – Use Space Heaters Properly
Space heaters are notorious for starting bedroom fires because most people don’t realize how dangerous they can be. Space heaters should be placed at least three feet away from all walls, clothing and furniture. Nothing should ever be draped over the heater, even when it is not in use.
Tip #7 – Turn Off Electric Blankets and Heating Pads
Electric blankets are popular holiday gifts and heating pads offer soothing heat when you’re not feeling under the weather, but these devices can be fire hazards when they are left on. While many models have built-in timers, others do not, so it is good practice to turn the heating pad or electric blanket off when you’re finished using it.
Eliminating the risks of suffering a bedroom fire is practically impossible, but by implementing these few tips, you can greatly reduce the risk of it happening in your home.