Fire Hazards Around the Home
Fires can happen almost instantly. A single flame can spread throughout the property and start a life-threatening disaster for everyone. But these disasters can also be easily prevented simply by taking a few precautions. Be mindful of all of the following to avoid fire hazards around the home.
1. Check Your Smoke Alarm
Simply having a smoke alarm installed properly can significantly increase everyone’s chance of surviving a house fire. Make sure to take the following steps:
- Never forget to change the batteries every 6 months
- Test the alarms once a month
2. Avoid Kitchen Fires
Most house fires are caused by an accident in the kitchen – usually grease fires. Make sure to supervise everything when you are cooking, grilling, or frying on your stove top or oven. Keep the following in mind:
- Keep all towels and paper towels away from the burners.
- If your microwave isn’t installed into the cabinet or wall, make sure there is nothing obstructing the vents.
- Keep a fire extinguisher nearby and within easy reach to put out small fires before they grow bigger.
- Never toss water on a grease fire if you don’t have an extinguisher on hand. Instead, put a lid on it to suffocate the flames.
3. Prevent Accidents with Heaters
Heaters, mainly space heaters, are responsible for 1 out of 6 fires in every home. In addition, 20% of all home fire deaths and 50% of all fires are caused by home heating, just between December and February.
- Make sure to keep all combustible materials at least 3 feet away from anything that gives off heat.
- Never plug more than one heating appliance into an outlet.
- Keep all gas generators outside and away from windows and doors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
- If you regularly use a fireplace, make sure to have your chimney professionally cleaned each year. Don’t forget to use a glass or metal screen that is large enough to prevent embers from escaping.
- Never leave the room or home with a fire burning or heating appliances plugged in.
4. Inspect Your Appliances
Dryer are responsible for 90% of appliance fires.
- Inspect all of your appliances for testing labels that show that they were purchased in a safe, working order. They may not be on older appliances, so you may want to consider having them checked by a professional or replaced.
- Always remove the lint from the filter after every dryer cycle. It can be annoying, but you’ll save yourself the risk of a dryer fire later.
5. Avoid Electrical Fires
All electric and appliance cords can take up a lot of wattage. Make sure they are distributed evenly. Follow this inspection list:
- Are any outlets overloaded or showing signs of wear and tear?
- Rearrange any cords if needed and try to have each appliance use their own outlet and ensure that extension cords have their own outlet.
- Never run extension cords under rugs or carpeting.
- Make sure that all lights and lamp are using bulbs with the wattage equal or less than the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Unplug any electronics that are not in use.
- TV’s and computers can quickly become overheated; make sure to keep them away from anything flammable.
6. Inspect Storage Areas
Your basement, yard, and garage can also be full of hazards. Actually, they are even more dangerous than inside your home.
- Keep junk and clutter away from the furnace or heater.
- Newspapers that are old and damp can actually self-combust.
- If you have gasoline or other flammable liquids, keep them in tightly sealed metal containers and away from heaters, particularly the grill in the summer time.
- The grill should be at least 10 feet away from your home and away from any branches or structure.
7. Practice Your Escape Plan
As much as you try to prevent fires from happening, they cannot be avoided altogether. Make sure you always have a plan in place during times of emergency.
- Plan an escape route with two possible exits from each room, such as a window or door.
- Never use any bedrooms without windows.
- Keep all hallways and other escape routes free of clutter to avoid someone tripping and falling during an emergency.
- Practice your emergency plan every 6 months and ensure that everyone can escape in at least 2 minutes.
- Some people in your home may need extra help; make sure that someone is present and knows how to help them in case of an emergency.
Call a Fire Restoration Company
While fires cannot always be prevented, taking the proper steps to recovery is very important. Seeing your home or building left charred and in an unstable condition from the flames, time is of the essence to have it repaired. As soon as you have ensured that everyone is safe, don’t hesitate to call for fire damage restoration.
A company like ServiceMaster of Lancaster County is available 24/7 to respond to emergency fire damage calls. Their professionals know that the damage can spread long after the flames have been extinguished. So they respond right away with professional products and equipment that are guaranteed to remove the soot, followed by rebuilding the structure.
They will handle all parts of the service, from obtaining all permits to working with your insurance company. Providing peace of mind is what they do.