Home Fire Prevention
Your furnace. Your fireplace. Even your kitchen stove! Left unattended or neglected, they can all pose a fire risk. Don’t let your home be one of the hundreds of thousands each year documented by the U.S. Fire Administration!
Instead, let us be your self-assurance mentor. Here are some important tips about home-fire prevention – and escaping safely should one occur.
CLEAN UP AFTER YOUR APPLIANCES
- Be sure to clean your clothes-dryer filter of any
lint after each use. The buildup of lint or other
debris can be a fire hazard.
- Inspect all the vents along the outside of your
home and keep them clear of lint, debris, snow,
DON’T LEAVE YOUR STOVE UNATTENDED
- The leading cause of kitchen fires is unattended cooking. Be sure to remain in the kitchen if you’re using the stove top. If you’re using the oven, set a timer that will be easily heard.
- When using your stove, keep wooden utensils, oven mitts, dish towels, clothing, food packaging, and other flammable objects away from all flames.
- Keep children at least three feet away from your stove and oven while they’re in use, and until they’ve completely cooled down.
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR CHIMNEY
- Have your chimney thoroughly inspected and cleaned annually by a licensed chimney specialist. You should also have the cap inspected to make sure it fits tightly and blocks any debris that could cause a chimney fire. Tree branches should not come within 15 feet of a chimney.
- Just like a malfunctioning furnace, a chimney that isn’t properly maintained can generate poisonous carbon monoxide gas.
INSTALL ALARM SYSTEMS
- If there’s a fire in your home, rapid response is crucial. Install smoke detectors in all bedrooms and main hallways on all levels of your home. Heat sensors are a better option in your kitchen and in utility areas such as your garage, attic, or electronic/mechanical storage spaces. Follow the advice and recommendations of any fire-equipment experts you might bring in for guidance.
- For optimal protection and quicker emergency response, have your fire-alarm system monitored by a central-station alarm company. If your home is equipped with interior sprinklers, consider having this system centrally monitored as well.
- If you, or anybody in your home, is hearing impaired, consider installing strobe-light smoke alarms and a pillow- or bed-shaker alarm system.
- Many companies make dual-purpose smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors. Check to see which type you have in your home. If your smoke detectors don’t sense for carbon monoxide, install separate carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home, especially near bedrooms.
- Smoke- and carbon-monoxide detectors should be tested at least once a month, and
batteries should be replaced at least once a year. The detectors themselves should be replaced every five to seven years, depending on the manufacturer, so be sure to check the labels.
- Keep at least one fire extinguisher on every level of your home, and make sure all your family members know where they are and how to use them.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR FURNACE
- Have a licensed heating contractor check your furnace at least once a year, ideally as summer transitions into fall.
- To prevent dust and lint build-up, check your furnace filter monthly.
- Never keep combustible item, such as paint cans, cardboard, or gasoline, near your furnace.
- Make sure the front-panel of your furnace is properly in place before operating. This is especially important if you have an older furnace not equipped with a safety switch that prevents operation when the cover isn’t secured.
- In addition to being a potential fire hazard, a furnace that’s not in proper working order can lead to the release of carbon monoxide (CO) — an invisible, odorless, toxic gas. The effects of carbon monoxide poisoning often go undetected, because initial symptoms mimic those of a common cold or flu.
HAVE A PLAN
- Create a fire-evacuation plan, complete with steps to follow and escape routes, and then practice the routine with all your family members. If you have a two-story home, install evacuation ladders in each bedroom.