While not as many house fires happen in the summer months as the winter ones, it’s still a major concern, and there is nothing more devastating than losing everything you own to a house fire.
So whether you are buying a new place or maintaining your current home, to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your home, follow these fire safety steps.
Test Detectors Every Month
Get in the habit of testing your smoke and fire detectors once a month, including asking someone to listen for the alarm farther away in the house where you may be less likely to hear it. Not only does this ensure your detectors are working, but it can also help you to avoid the dreaded low battery chirp!
Choosing alarms and detectors that also measure deadly carbon monoxide is an added protection that enhances your alarms and potential future benefit.
Pay Attention to Appliances
Stoves, dryers, and other appliances make life so much easier, but they also pose major fire hazards.
While a stove won’t randomly combust because of your cooking, food parties within it could cause a burner to get too hot, or catch on fire. So you’ll want to make sure to keep your oven clean, but also not leave it unattended while in use.
The same goes for your dryer. Not many of us have them inspected annually as we should, but we should at least check around and behind the machine to make sure no items are stuck around them, and remember to clean out the lint trap every time we take out a load of dried clothes.
When possible, and especially with anything that involves heat, try not to leave appliances unattended. And keep a fire extinguisher on hand in the kitchen in case of grease fires or other emergencies.
Inspect All of Your Heating Sources
Annual inspections here as recommended as well, but in the absence of that, make sure your air filters are always cleaned out. And if you’re using a space heater – it absolutely needs to be positioned away from anything flammable. A fire can easily start from debris and dust being too close to a heat source so make sure you clean them regularly.
Practice Good Electrical Safety
Maintain your cords. Before you plug something in, make sure that the cord hasn’t been destroyed or chewed. Look for frayed wires, surge marks in wire, and damaged cords. If you see any exposed wires, unplug the electronic and replace it immediately. Also, check your cord placement. They do sometimes tend to get hot, so you want to keep all cords away from furniture and rugs. Yes, even running cords under rugs is dangerous!
You’ll also want to be sure to avoid overusing extension cords or crowding all of your plugs into one socket. Overused or overloaded electrical connections are a primary cause of electrical fires.
Be Careful With Fire
Candles and fireplaces make a home cozy, but they are also extremely hazardous if left alone. Always make sure you put out candles before you exit a room and keep them far away from blankets or other objects. Also, blow out candles before you fall asleep, because you don’t want any stray sparks to escape.
Placing candles on an uneven surface allows them to easily tip over, so this is a bad practice, as is having candles lit around kids and pets.
Fireplaces also need extra care. It should go without saying, but never leave the room when the fireplace is lit. Disposing of a fire’s ashes after burning also requires some attention. Make sure you’ve given them more than enough time to cool down and dispose of them in a metal container that is designated just for the ashes.
You know that if anyone in your house smokes, it is best to provide them with a safe place to put out their cigarettes, and outdoors is preferable. But also know that some items in your backyard or garage are more flammable than you’d imagine, so even the outdoors aren’t completely safe.
For example, did you know that potting soil is a fire hazard? Fertilizer and some brands of potting soil contain flammable materials that can combust under heat or after someone ashes a cigarette.
Protect yourself from all of these hazards by keeping fire extinguishers around and accessible. They are your best defense when a fire breaks out and can literally save your life. Make sure you have one in every room that is a potential threat and that every family member knows how to use it.