Wilmington has a wonderful group of local historians. Read any of their accounts of our architectural history, and it is clear that the foremost element of destruction to dwellings is fire. At the very minimum, there are 3 critical steps to fire risk management.

First, GET OUT. Have a plan. Practice nighttime and daytime evacuation drills with your family. Establish where you will meet up outside.

Second, have an adequate smoke detection system and keep it healthy.

Third, keep an A-B-C rated fire extinguisher on every floor. The kitchen and garage each need their own, even if on the same level. If you can safely use an extinguisher when a fire first begins, do so; otherwise, use those critical seconds to GET OUT.

For an explanation of types of extinguishers (A-B-C etc.) visit OSHA’s fire safety page https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/evacuation/portable_about.html .