There is nothing more devastating than a house fire. We set up our lives in our homes, and everything of value lives there, including our family. Most people don’t think about fire safety until it’s too late, and then you are left picking up the smouldering pieces.
Keeping your family and possessions safe from a fire isn’t hard if you take the time to look for hazards and have a plan. By implementing safety measures, you can minimize the fire risk where you live. Here are six tips to keep your house safe from a fire.
Install Smoke Detectors and Fire Extinguishers
While a fire can start at any day or night, they get a foothold when undetected. Ensure there is a smoke detector in every bedroom and one on every floor of the home. Smoke detectors should be hardwired in. When one goes off, they all go off. Fire extinguishers should also be placed on every level of the home and detached garages and suites. An extra one near the kitchen will give you quick access if a fire starts while cooking. Make sure to check batteries and test your smoke detectors regularly. Look at the dates on your extinguisher to keep it up to date as well.
Use Surge Protectors for All Your Electronics
A common cause of house fires is overloading the electrical system. This happens when too many devices are plugged into one outlet, usually with a multi plug-extension cord. It is much safer to use an approved surge protector to avoid overloading the circuit. They will protect your devices from electrical surges as well as prevent fires. Only leave dedicated cords attached to outlets like lighting and large appliances. Unplug electronics that are not being used and any smartphones, tablets, or handheld gaming devices after they are charged.
Don’t Leave Flames Unattended
We all love the allure of a fireplace. While they are designed to be safe for use indoors and outside, leaving them burning when you’re not around is hazardous. Open flame has the potential to throw sparks, so make sure to stay near to monitor it. For fire pits outside, you should be sure you let them burn down to embers and have a covering to prevent any sparks from escaping. Candles also need to be monitored and snuffed out when leaving the room. Smoking cigarettes can be a real danger too. There have been countless tragedies, from cigarettes burning down homes and trapping people inside. This can be avoided by simply butting out your smoke when you are done. Newer devices like vapes and e-cigarettes should also be handled and stored with care.
Cut Down On Clutter
A fire needs fuel to keep it burning, and if there is clutter around, you may aid a flame to spread quickly. Keep flammable items away from open flame. A fireplace seems like the perfect area to store kindling and paper to start your fire, but it should be far enough away that a spark can’t reach it. This also includes debris outside your home. Flammable material near your home can be a potential threat, so make sure to clean up leaves, branches and even cut firewood out of harm’s way. Oil or gas should be stored securely in a safe area away from open fires and heating devices.
Use Appliances Wisely
Your cooking and cleaning devices are made to be safely operated. Unfortunately, the manufacturers can only do so much to protect you, especially if their products are not operated with care and safety in mind. Here are some quick operational tips:
- Stove: This appliance produces quick heat and can be a potential hazard. Make sure to set a timer when using the oven and if you have to leave the room while cooking on a stovetop, turn off the heat until you return.
- Clothes Dryer: Your dryer accumulates lint with every load it dries, so it’s best to clean it out after every use. This will help your dryer work more efficiently and keep flammable debris from accumulating. Inspect the vent pipes every few months for buildup and ensure the outside vent doesn’t get plugged with debris.
- Counter Appliances: These are handy appliances and include mixers, blenders, skillets and more. Make sure to plug them into wall sockets and not extension cords. Don’t leave them operating unattended, and always unplug them when not in use. This will help prevent any overload of your outlets and clear up counter space when cooking.
Train the Family On Fire Prevention
When it comes to fire prevention, the whole family must be aware of the potential hazards around the house. Train your children on safe handling practices for appliances, electronics, and open flames from fireplaces and candles. Make them aware of your fire action plan so they can operate a fire extinguisher and know to unplug and turn off everything that is not being used.