Did you know that in the United States, a fire department responds to a fire every 24 seconds? In honor of October being fire prevention month, we’ve got the fire prevention tips you need to keep your home and your family safe.
How Common Are Home Fires?
In 2018, there were about 499,000 total structure fires, and of these, 363,000 were home fires. Unfortunately, home fires lead to huge loses in property, possessions, and worse of all lives. In 2018, 74% of all civilian fire deaths occurred in home fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association, the most common causes of home fires are cooking, heating, electrical problems, smoking, and candles.
Fire Prevention Tips to Follow Today
Fire safety is a serious thing, but it doesn’t have to be scary. You can start implementing these fire prevention tips today and prevent fires in your home.
Install and Check Smoke Detectors
Your first line of defense against home fires is your smoke detector. These devices are meant to notify you if there is a fire in your home so that you have enough time to get out safely. You should have a smoke detector on every floor of your home, and preferably in each sleeping area also. For added safety, it’s also essential that you have carbon monoxide detectors in your home too.
For effectiveness, it’s important to check your smoke and carbon monoxide monitors every 30 days and replace batteries regularly. You should also replace your unit every ten years or as the manufacturer recommends.
Don’t Overload Outlets and Unplug When Possible
We all have a lot of appliances in our homes that need to be plugged in, but it’s important not to overload circuits with excessive extension cords and devices. It’s also in best practice to unplug appliances when they’re not in use.
Check Electrical Cords, Wires, and Devices
Make sure the appliances and devices that you do have plugged in are in good working condition. Check your appliances and devices and remove anything that has frayed, cracked, or damaged cords and wires.
Be Cautious About Placement
Where you place your appliances and electrical cords or wires matters. For example, it’s best to place lamps or TVs away from curtains with long drapes, as drapes can quickly catch fire. Also, always avoid placing wires and electrical cords in high traffic areas, running under carpets or rugs, or anywhere that they risk being pinched by doors or windows.
Be a Careful Cook
The kitchen can be a big fire starter, so always practice safety when cooking. Never leave the kitchen in the middle of cooking. Don’t leave your stove or oven on when you’re not home, even if you’re just running out for a minute. It also helps to cook with pot or pan handles turned in, so they can’t be bumped into.
Keep easily flammable items like potholders, towels, plastic, etc. away from the stove or other heat sources. Remember, never put a grease fire out with water! Instead, try to smother the grease fire with a pan or pot lid. And never use your oven as a heat source.
Keep Space Around Heaters, Fireplaces, and Furnaces
Heating appliances are a major cause of home fires, which is why an essential home fire safety tip is to keep at least 3 feet of clearance around your space heaters, fireplaces, furnaces, and other heating devices. It’s also recommended to turn space heaters off and put fireplaces out when you’re not home or go to sleep.
Leave HVAC Maintenance, Repair, and Installation to the Pros
When poorly maintained, many components of your HVAC system can become a potential fire hazard. Ensure that your HVAC unit runs safely and efficiently by scheduling bi-annual HVAC maintenance. Your HVAC system should be inspected once in the fall, and once in the spring.
Regular HVAC Maintenance has so many benefits, including helping prevent gas leaks, fuel leaks, and other hazards that can put your home and family in danger. To ensure safety in your home, you should always leave repairs and installations to a trusted HVAC technician too.
Use a Fire Screen and Keep Your Fireplace Clean
In the colder months, there’s nothing quite as cozy as enjoying a night by the fireplace. But proper fireplace care is an essential home fire safety tip. Make sure to use a firescreen to avoid any escaping embers or sparks. After each time you use your fireplace, you should safely discard all remaining ashes.
It’s also a good idea to have your chimney and fireplace inspected from time to time.
Clean Dryer Vents
To prevent home fires caused by dryer vents, make sure always to keep yours clean. Clean lint from your dryer filter after every use. You should also check for and remove lint buildup around the dryer’s exhaust hose once a year or hire professional dryer vent cleaners for heavy duty cleaning.
Never Smoke Indoors
Smoking indoors is no longer very common, but if there’s a smoker in your home, make sure there’s a strictly enforced “only outside” rule.
Keep a Phone in Your Room
It’s always best to have a phone in your bedroom for emergencies so that if you hear the alarm go off or sense a problem, you can quickly call for help.
Keep an Eye Out for Electrical Problems
If you notice electrical problems like sparking outlets or switches, burning or strange odors when using appliances, flickering lights, surging lights, or other odd occurrences, don’t ignore them. These behaviors can be signs of dangerous electrical problems that can lead to fires and should be dealt with by a professional electrician.
Be Cautious With Open Flames
When using candles, incense, or other similar items, always practice caution. Place these items on sturdy and fire-resistant surfaces. Always ensure that someone is in charge of putting candles or incense out. If you’re lighting candles or incense before bed, it’s best to set an alarm for right before you plan on going to sleep to ensure you don’t forget.
Be Prepared With a Fire Escape Plan
With the right fire prevention tips, you should be able to prevent fires in your home, and hopefully, you’ll never need an escape plan, but it’s always best to be prepared. Ensure that all family members know at least two exits (doors and windows) for every room. It’s also helpful to decide on a place where all family members will meet once out of the house.
Teach young kids about fire safety early on, so they always know what to do. In the event of a fire, you should try to find an escape route with minimal smoke, and if that’s not possible, stay low to the ground on your hands and knees to avoid smoke inhalation. And remember to stop, drop, and roll if you catch fire.
Staying Safe With AirXperts
Fire safety can be a big concern, but when you follow the right fire prevention tips, you can protect your home and family. To ensure your HVAC system isn’t a fire hazard, contact AirXperts today for HVAC maintenance, repair, and installation. We’re always here to keep your home and family safe.