How to make sure your mobile home is safe in the event of a fire
Fire officials say any size fire in a mobile or manufactured home can be deadly if you are not prepared.
Fire officials said the standard compartment of a mobile home can shorten your escape time, in the event of a fire.
"They do spread fairly quickly and they are small and contained areas so it doesn't take long for someone to become trapped in a room or the whole trailer itself to be engulfed in flames," said Fire Marshal William Matlock with the Chattanooga Fire Department.
Matlock says any size fire in a mobile or manufactured home can be deadly if you are not prepared.
"You never forget the loss of life especially being a firefighter working these scenes," said Matlock. "It's heartbreaking to know there are things we can do to help and we do our best to get the word out."
Mobile home owners should first check to make sure the home bears the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) label certifying it's compliance with federal construction safety standards.
The government started regulating construction back in 1976. National fire data shows that manufactured homes built with these standards have a much lower risk of death if a fire occurs.
"You want to make sure you have two ways out," said Matlock.
Officials said each bedroom needs at least two exits and a smoke alarm. Homeowners need to make sure they can escape through the window if necessary and never block its path.
The living room should have a working smoke alarm too. Some people take them down and that's a mistake. A smoke alarm can't save your life, if it's not working.
"A lot of times they are placed in an inappropriate place, they can be too close to the kitchen or they can be outside a bathroom where the steam sets it off and they become nuisance alarms," said Matlock. "Please put them back up, please, and if you need a new device please call us at the fire department and we'll make arrangements to get out and install them for you."
Fire officials said heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths along with unattended cooking. You should keep heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn and turn them off when you leave. Never leave food cooking on the stove and make an escape plan.
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