Home Fire Safety: What You Need to Know

January 27, 2021

When we talk about home security, you may immediately think of burglars and intruders. But a truly safe home should have the basics covered. Fires just may be a homeowners worst nightmare and the first step to coping is to arm yourself with knowledge and make sure you’re prepared and protected.

Smart lighting switch panel

How do home fires start?

 

Cooking

Ah, the number one cause of home fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association, most home fires begin in the kitchen, due to unattended cooking.

Heating

This is especially important to keep in mind during the winter when we’re all in need of a little more heat. Always remember to keep your space heaters away from combustible materials like curtains, laundry, furniture, etc. If your home depends on a furnace for heating, get it regularly inspected each year to ensure it’s safe for use.

Electrical

Keep an eye out for faulty wiring throughout your home. If you notice any frequently blown fuses, lights dimming when you use other appliances, etc. – those are red flags that should be fixed ASAP.

General Negligence

Things like unsupervised candles, abandoned flat irons, or smoking indoors can all lead to unexpected consequences. 

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What are home fires like?

 

Fire is FAST

According to an article by BuyersAsk.com, you only have about 3 – 5 minutes to escape a fire in your home. The rooms can fill quickly with black smoke and/or become engulfed in flames. For more information on the stages of a home fire and how/why it spreads, read more here.

Fire is HOT

It may sound obvious, but the heat of a fire can be more dangerous than the actual flames. Temperatures can rise to 600º at eye level – so breathing in this extremely hot air can scorch your lungs and melt your clothes.

Fire is DARK

You may immediately consider the bright flames of a fire, but those flames produce black smoke that will make it extremely dark and nearly impossible to see.

Fire is DEADLY

Fire produces poisonous gases and smoke that can make you disoriented, drowsy and end up killing more people than the flames of the fire do.

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How to Prevent & Prepare for a Fire

Create an escape plan with your family

The worst thing you can be if and when a fire occurs is unprepared. Create a plan with your family so that everyone knows what to do and can act quickly. Make a note of all the exits in your home and ensure that they are not blocked in some way. Windows should be easily opened and any screens should be easy to remove. Everyone should practice moving through the house in the dark or with eyes closed (make a game out of it for the kids!). Go over your plan often to keep everyone alert and prepared.

Keep smoke detectors ready

Test your smoke detectors often and replace the batteries about twice a year. You should have a smoke detector on each level of your home. Never EVER disable your smoke detector while cooking! While you may be trying to avoid a nuisance, remember that it’s there to protect you and your family.

Stay alert

Many home fires could be avoided simply by being more attentive. Don’t ever leave the kitchen while the stove is on and unattended. Remember, fires move quickly, and sometimes all it takes is a moment of negligence. Always keep an eye on potential hazards like candles, a fireplace, space heaters, etc.

Protect your belongings

Getting your family out safely is the number one priority, but we know you would hate to lose any of your important possessions or documents on top of the damage to your home. Think ahead – scan and save digital copies of your important documents and upload or save them somewhere secure. For other irreplaceable, expensive, or special possessions, keep them in a fire-proof safe or box.

For more info and tips on fire safety, visit Ready.gov

 

motorized shades in summer home

What to do once a home fire occurs

Act quickly

Remember, you have only a few minutes to exit your home so don’t hesitate to act. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you make your way out:

  • Before opening any doors, touch the doorknob and door. If either is hot, leave the door closed and find another way out.
  • Crawl low. Heavy smoke and toxic gases will rise and collect toward the ceiling first.
  • Stop, drop, and roll if your clothes catch flames.
  • If you have pets or anyone that you can’t get to – notify the fire rescue service as soon as you can with their exact location
Depend on Alarm.com

Make sure your smoke detector is integrated into your Alarm.com security system. The app will notify you immediately so that you can act (even if you aren’t home). It will also contact emergency services for you and send an alert to your designated emergency contacts, like neighbors or family. Meanwhile, your Alarm.com system can automatically shut down your integrated HVAC to help contain the fumes.

Check out the video below to see a first-hand story of how Alarm.com protects you in a fire.

Upgrade your security system

Reach out to us at 678-566-2640 or sales@phoenixsystems.tv and a Phoenix Rep will be happy to discuss your needs and options!

Lighting is an essential and powerful element of any home’s design. When designed with intention, lighting can not only make your home feel warmer and more welcoming, but it can increase productivity, highlight your favorite areas of your house, and add character. Plus, choosing the right bulbs and fixtures from your home can impact energy efficiency. 

There are four main types of lighting you should keep in mind when designing or revamping your home. Each serves its own purpose and comes in a variety of options.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting provides the overall illumination and sets the mood for a room. Typically, it floods the room with lighting from above, from ceiling-mounted lights and ceiling fans. Wall sconces can also provide enough lighting to brighten a room.

Of course, ambient lighting can come in a variety of styles which can work well in larger rooms like kitchens and living rooms. Ceiling lights can be dome-shaped flushed fixtures, or recessed lights for a sleeker and more minimal look. They can be a part of a ceiling fan or stand alone for a bold statement-making chandelier. Or, tall floor lamps can provide excellent ambient lighting, especially in rooms with high ceilings.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting is more dedicated to style than function. With the use of directional track lights or spotlights, you can guide the eyes toward artwork or architectural elements within your home that deserve special attention.

This type of lighting can add character to your home, setting the stage for your favorite spaces and pieces to shine. Options like cove lighting can be installed near your tray ceiling or crown molding to bring those features to life.

Task Lighting

There are a lot of tasks and activities we perform in our homes on a daily basic. From cooking and preparing your morning coffee to reading, writing, and working at home. Task lighting can illuminate the necessary areas for you to do your best work. 

Under-cabinet lighting is a great way to brighten up the counter tops when you’re prepping meals, while also highlighting your beautiful backsplashes, countertop décor, coffee bar, and more. Then, when it’s time to settle in for the night, task lighting by your bedside can help you crack open a good book to wind down.

Natural Lighting

Never underestimate the power of natural lighting within your home. Sunlight streaming in through your windows can instantly make a home feel more welcoming and comfortable. Of course, while we have no power over the sun outside, we can manage the ways we incorporate it into our lighting design through smart shading.

With a variety of fabric options, you can let just enough light in to brighten your home, while also controlling unnecessary glares, or even keeping your bedroom dark and cozy.

Source: Control4

Get Smarter About Lighting

The lighting in your home should feel intuitive and comforting, not cumbersome and overwhelming. With so many lights in your house, it can help to integrate them all into your smart home system. This way, you can manage them all from a single app, or even automate them based on your routines and energy-management needs. Smart lighting systems can even make your home safer, so you never come home to a dark house, and you can deter intruders while you’re on vacation.

 Phoenix Systems offers free consultations with our smart home pros to help design and install lighting solutions that work for you.