4 Life-Saving Fire Prevention Products You Need Now

A fire at dusk in a neighborhood.

It seems like common sense, but many people do not have fire prevention products in their home. Besides having the capacity to save the lives of your family and friends, these fire prevention products can also prevent extensive damage to your property and belongings. By having the proper safety equipment in your home, you and your family can be forewarned of dangerous situations that could be potentially life-threatening. Here are four items you should work into your household budget and purchase for your safety's sake.

1. Smoke Alarms

A smoke alarm and smoke.

Smoke alarms are one of the most important fire prevention products you can have in the home. In fact, every floor should have one, if not more. Be sure to read the instructions provided by the manufacturer of your smoke alarm so that you will understand how it operates. Smoke alarms should be positioned on the ceiling near the bedrooms in your home. It's vital to test your alarms on a regular basis to ensure that they are working properly. If your alarms are battery operated, you should change the batteries every six months. For the safest environment, have your alarms networked together with at least one of them being powered by electricity.

2. Fire Escape Ladders

Homes that have more than one level can become particularly dangerous in the event of a fire. Staircases that are engulfed in flames can make it almost impossible to get from the second floor to the ground floor and out to safety. Homeowners with second and third floors should consider purchasing a fire escape ladder to provide a safe route to the ground. There are several types of these ladders available and you can typically find them in your local hardware store. Lightweight and easy to store when they are not being used, these ladders quickly attach to a window to provide a safe route from a second or third floor. Fire escape ladders run between $50-$70 and should be purchased for each bedroom on the upper floors of any home.

3. Fire Extinguishers

A finger pulling the trigger on a fire extinguisher.

To protect your home from small fires, your home should have a fire extinguisher. Most fires begin small and grow larger based on the material around them. Your fire extinguisher will enable you to contain a small fire and prevent it from getting worse. Be sure to carefully select the right fire extinguisher for your home—there are a variety of these devices available. Speak with a professional at your local hardware store about the one that’s right for you. Once you've determined the best choice, make sure to install one on every level of your home, and in particular your kitchen and garage.

Fire extinguishers are classified by the type of fire that can effectively fight. They are divided into four classes: A, B, C and D. Class A fires are caused by combustible materials such as cloth, paper, plastic, rubber, and wood; these types of fires typically occur in homes and commercial buildings. Class B fires are caused by flammable liquids such as gas, oil, lacquer, paint, and solvent. These fires move quickly and can reflash if the flames are not extinguished properly. Class C fires are caused by powered equipment such as appliances, motors, and wiring. Class D fires are caused by combustible metal materials.

4. Sprinkler Systems

Sprinkler systems offer effective and reliable fire protection in your home. These systems can quickly contain and extinguish small home fires. Each sprinkler head in the system is a type of plug that is connected to a pipe containing water. The water in the pipe is held back until heat from a flame breaks the plug and allows the water to be released. In the event of a fire, only the sprinkler head that is closest to the flames will operate and spray water on the flames. The remaining sprinklers stay sealed, confining the water to space in which the fire is located. On average, fire sprinkler systems cost around $1.50 per square foot in homes that are newly constructed. In many cases, installing a sprinkler system allows homeowners to receive reductions in home insurance premiums.