You love your home. Its home, after all. It would be absolutely devastating to lose it. Being conscientious of home fire safety just takes a few minutes. It’s totally worth it. You, your family, and your house depend on it.
In the U.S. alone, between 2011 and 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 358,500 home structure fires per year.
Some of these ways to avoid a house fire you may know, but a friendly reminder never hurts.
Fire Safety Checklist
- Conduct monthly smoke alarm checks. Replace the batteries once a year and make it a date like January 1, that you can remember. The U.S. Fire Administration suggests replacing the smoke alarm itself every 10 years. Smoke detectors should be on every level of the home and in every bedroom.
- Inspect your forced air furnace and space heaters. Check for dust building up as it can catch fire. If you use a space heater, make sure it is a minimum of 3 feet from anything that can catch on fire. Furnaces should have a yearly checkup and change the filter monthly.
- Don’t put kitchen towels, hot pads, or cooking oils near your stove and oven. Keep curtains away, too.
- Be nearby any hot cooking surface. Built up grease and food splatter can ignite too when you turn on the stove. And don’t cook if you are extremely tired or when drinking alcohol or using drugs.
- Keep your dryer’s lint screen clean and keep the dryer in good working order. Have a yearly gas dryer checkup. Clean the lint filter after every load and make sure there isn’t any clothes or lint behind or under the dryer.
- Check your electrical cords to make sure they are not cut or frayed and never hide them under a rug or between the furniture and the wall because they produce heat and may overheat, starting a fire.
- Be aware of your home’s electrical capacity. Don’t overload your circuits. Check for improperly grounded receptacles. Check attic and crawl spaces for any wiring that may have been damaged by critters.
- Always put flammables in a cool, dark cupboard away from heat and sunlight.
- Keep candles in tip-proof holders and away from any flammable items, including beds, bedding, and curtains. You should never leave a candle unattended.
- Keep your fireplace clean and in proper working order. If your fireplace gets lots of use, have your fireplace regularly cleaned to keep it from building up creosote soot that can be flammable. Make sure your flue opens and shuts and keep a fireplace screen in place to protect your home from popping, jumping sparks. Always let the ash cool before getting rid of it. Put ash in a container solely for ash.
- Unplug your cell phone and other device chargers when you aren’t using them. They can keep drawing electricity and overheat.
- Do not block doors or windows that may be needed as a fire escape route. If you have an egress window, make sure that snow isn’t blocking the window from opening in the winter.
- Be careful with real Christmas trees and old or low-quality string lights. Keep your tree watered and update your string lights. Always unplug your electric decorations at night.
- Don’t pile up grass clippings next to the home. Fermenting, dry clipping can heat up in the sun and catch fire.
Stay Fire Safe
Practice fire evacuation drills twice a year, especially if you have children and designate a safe meeting place outside of the house. Drawing an evacuation map and going over it with your children once a month is a good practice, too.
Make sure everyone knows how to use a fire extinguisher and keep one in each high-risk area of your home like the kitchen and near the fireplace, and in the garage. In case of fire, stand 6 to 8 feet away with the extinguisher and point the chemical at the base of the fire.
According to the insurance claim data at www.travelers.com, their compiled data lists these five reasons are the culprit behind house fire loss.
- Faulty wiring and outlets
- Carelessness in the kitchen
- Clothes dryers
- Alternative heating sources like space heaters and wood or pellet stoves
- Dirty chimneys
Take measures to ensure the safety of yourself, your family, your pets, and your home. It is easy to do and brings peace of mind. Making everyone aware is key in having your home stay the safe place that you love.
It’s good to prepare in case of a home fire, but it’s best to prevent a home fire in the first place.
If you should experience a home fire, we’re here, day or night, to help you get your house back at Abbott’s Fire and Flood 24-hour Cleanup and Restoration Services.