Did you know that fires destroy nearly half a million structures in America each year, and causes more than $7 billion in property damage? There’s almost nothing as terrifying as waking up to a house full of smoke, with little time to evacuate. That’s why it’s so important to ensure that your home is protected. Follow these tips to keep your home and your family safe from fire.
Install smoke alarms
It should go without saying, but make sure your home is equipped with working smoke alarms. They should be installed on every floor and tested twice each year. A good way to remember is to check them at the same time you set your clocks for daylight savings. Smoke alarms also have expiration dates, typically 10 years. It is a good idea to check each alarm and note their expiration, installation, or built date.
Invest in fire extinguishers
When you move into a new home, be sure to put fire extinguishers on your list of essentials. You never know when a fire will break out that gets out of control quickly. Ideally, you should have a fire extinguisher on every floor. But if you only have one, it should be stored in the kitchen, where half of all home fires occur.
Clean your fireplace
If you have a wood-burning fireplace, it needs to be cleaned regularly when in use. Every time you burn logs in your fireplace, it creates a residue that clings to the inside of your chimney. If this residue is allowed to build up, it can become a fire hazard. Schedule annual appointments for a professional to inspect and clean your chimney.
Keep the lint trap clean
Another source of home fires is the laundry room. The main cause of fires in a laundry room is the lint trap. If the traps aren’t cleaned regularly, the lint that has built up can catch fire. Don’t run the dryer when you aren’t home. Also be sure that the exhaust vent is properly connected and functioning.
Stay in the kitchen
Although they say a watched pot never boils, it isn’t wise to step away from the kitchen while anything is cooking. As stated above, kitchen accidents are the top cause of home fires, which are usually started when cooking. Move any flammable items like towels and potholders away from open flames.
Be cautious of space heaters
Space heaters can come in handy during cold months, especially if you have a room that just doesn’t want to stay warm. But be especially cautious during their use. It is estimated that space heaters cause one third of all heating fires. Although that vintage heater may match your décor, it’s wise to invest in newer models that have better safety features. Also be sure to keep space heaters away from flammable materials, pets and children.
Always be aware of candles
We can’t argue that candles create a wonderful, warm ambience. But they can also be a fire hazard if left unattended. Always extinguish candles when leaving a room. Don’t place candles near flammable materials, and make sure they aren’t accessible to pets or children. The best option is to buy electrical candles that provide the same cozy light without the risk.