Do you realize that you spend nearly one-third of your life in bed? That’s a big chunk of time. It means that your bedroom is actually the most lived-in area of your house. Since we put in so many hours there — watching TV, reading, catching Zs — it should be a space where you can recoup your energy after a long day, and not a danger zone.
Here are the facts: While only 7 percent of house fires originate in bedrooms, they are still the cause of 25 percent of home fire deaths, says the National Fire Protection Association. Bedrooms are also the most common starting point for fires set by kids, because children who play with fire usually experiment in places like underneath their beds and in closets. Fortunately, we have a lot of room for improvement. This is where I come in. Twenty-five years as a New York City firefighter has shown me firsthand the physical and emotional terror a family undergoes when they lose their home. That experience drives me to share my passion and expertise for fire prevention with you all.
Today, I’m kicking off a series of simple tips here on the Leeo blog that will help you protect the warm, bustling place that holds the people and things you care about — your home.
IN THE BEDROOM, MAKE SURE YOU:
1) Install a working smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector. This is the #1 thing you can do to protect your home.
2) Keep a flashlight and whistle on hand, which can help you attract attention from an open window.
3) Only use space heaters while awake. All of your space heaters should have the UL rating (Underwriters Laboratories), and have a tilt safety switch that will shut off the heater if it accidentally tips over. In all cases, keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from combustible items like furniture, newspapers, magazines, carpeting, bedding, blankets, and curtains.
4) Stay smart about candles. I don’t recommend using candles, but if you choose to use them, monitor all candles while they are lit and never light them when you’re sleepy.
5) Include a landline phone, cordless phone, or a cell phone in every bedroom so you can call an emergency phone number when necessary. Attached to each phone should be the emergency number for that particular community. Keep a self-sticking tag on the telephone with the name, address, and street name of your residence, which is the critical information emergency dispatchers will need to find you. People tend to go blank when asked for these details, so it’s useful to have a quick reference on hand.
Follow my five suggestions, share them with the people you love, and sleep sounder. Keep an eye on the Leeo blog for more fire prevention tips coming your way!
If you’ve incorporated any of these suggestions into your bedroom, we’d love to hear from you. Take a photo of your finished task, tag it with the #LeeoTips and #FireSafety hashtags, and tweet it out. Every week, the folks at Leeo will recognize one random community member with a fire safety surprise.
Over and out!
Image courtesy of Flickr user Jason Toff.
Joe Torrillo is Leeo’s fire safety expert with over 25 years of experience as a lieutenant with the NYC Fire Department, in addition to being a 9/11 Twin Towers survivor. Joe now helps motivate people to be educated, inspired, and take action.