(Written by Katie Moser, FEI Network Operations Specialist)

Over the past few months here in Wisconsin, where FEI is based, we’ve been hearing sad stories of family homes that have caught fire. These families lost their homes, their possessions and in some cases their family members. I can’t imagine going through such a traumatic event, and decided to be proactive.

Fire safety and survival starts with preparation. The Home Safety Council has a list of top ten fire safety tips to help keep your home safe from fires:

  1. Put smoke alarms inside or near every bedroom. Test them monthly to make sure they work.
  2. Put new batteries in smoke alarms once a year, or sooner if the alarm chirps.
  3. Make a fire escape plan for your family. Find two exits out of every room. Pick a meeting place outside. Practice makes perfect—hold a fire drill at least twice each year.
  4. Always stay in the kitchen while cooking.
  5. Keep BBQ grills at least ten feet away from other objects, including the home and any shrubs or bushes.
  6. Only light candles when an adult is in the room. Do not allow children to keep candles or incense in their rooms.
  7. Store matches and lighters in a locked cabinet, out of reach of young children.
  8. Learn how and when to use a fire extinguisher.
  9. Space heaters need space. Keep them at least three feet away from things that can burn, such as curtains or stacks of paper. Always turn off heaters when leaving the room or falling asleep.
  10. If you use gasoline, store only a small quantity in an approved gasoline container. Store it in an outdoor shed away from your home. Never bring any amount of gasoline indoors.

In the event you do find yourself in a fire, follow these helpful tips to escape safely:

  • If your clothes catch fire: stop, drop and roll! Do not run around; running around will fan the flames.
  • Don’t use your palm to test if doors are hot. The back of your hand is more sensitive to heat than the palm. Move the back of your hand toward the door slowly. If it is hot, you will feel the heat before you can sustain a burn.
  • Stay low to try to avoid inhaling smoke. Crawl on your hands and knees to stay below the smoke.

While these tips are generally for the home, they can apply just as easily to the work environment, especially if the office utilizes space heaters or shares a communal kitchen. Keeping your employees safe is equally as important as maintaining a protected space for family.

As always, being informed and aware of your surroundings is the best path to maintaining a safe environment—whether at work or at home! When was the last time you reviewed your emergency response plan in case of fire?