Home fires impact thousands of families across the US every year, resulting in serious health issues and costly structural damage. To help bring attention to the dangers of fire and provide education about fire safety, National Fire Prevention Week is an annual event that falls during the week of October 9th. Read more about common home fire hazards and safety tips to help keep your home and family safe.
Common Home Fire Safety Hazards and What to Do About Them
To practice fire safety, there are several key hazards that all homeowners should be aware of. Pay special attention to these common culprits and practice the tips below to reduce your risk of a house fire.
Prevention From Underlying Electrical Issues
Homeowners may be surprised by potential electrical fire hazards hiding in their homes. Something as simple as frequently blown fuses or flickering lights can indicate an underlying concern with the home’s wiring, switches or outlets, or the main electrical panel. Also look out for switches and outlets that are hot to the touch, or emit a strong odor.
Contact an electrician immediately if you notice any of these signs in your own home.
Take Heater and Fireplace Safety Seriously
With fall and winter fast approaching, families will spend more time indoors with heating devices like space heaters, stoves, and fireplaces. While cozy and functional, heaters and fireplaces can be dangerous when not used properly. Follow these easy tips to stay safe and warm this season:
- When buying a space heater, look for auto shut off models in case the unit tips over
- Place space heaters on a level, hard, and nonflammable surface such as a ceramic tile floor
- Turn off heaters and fully extinguish fireplaces before leaving the room or going to bed
- Store flammable materials at least 3ft away from space heaters, stoves, or fireplaces
- Keep fire, sparks, and rolling logs inside your fireplace by using a glass or metal fire screen
- Have your wood/coal stoves, fireplaces, chimneys, and furnaces professionally inspected and cleaned annually
Reduce Garage Fire Hazards
Some of the home’s most hazardous tools and materials are often stored in the garage. A few simple tips can reduce the risk of a fire and keep your garage a functional space.
- Keep all combustible chemicals in a locked metal cabinet and away from heat sources
- Use gas cans or metal containers that are approved by your fire department for storing gasoline
- Place dirty rags in a sealed metal can or dispose of them immediately to protect against fumes from hazardous chemicals which can cause an explosion and fire
- Never staple extension cords to walls or ceilings
- Unplug all electrical cords when not in use
- Make sure gas-powered equipment is empty when not in use or in storage
Fire Prevention Tips to Protect Your Home and Family
Install and Maintain Smoke Alarms In Home
Working smoke alarms reduce the risk of fire-related fatalities by almost half. Properly maintaining smoke alarms doesn’t have to be intimidating. Just a few simple steps could save your family in the event of a fire. See this short list of best practices to install and maintain the smoke alarms in your home.
- Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, and near or inside bedrooms
- Respond immediately to smoke alarm sound by exiting the home
- If your alarm begins to chirp, it may mean the batteries need to be replaced
- Use the test button to check it each month and replace the batteries at least once a year
Create and Practice Your Fire Evacuation Plan
All children and adults in the home should be aware of and practice their home fire escape plans. Start by determining the safest and quickest paths out of the home. Designate individuals to alert others in the household, call the fire department, and get pets to safety in the event of a fire. Once you have a plan in place – practice it! This can help you identify areas for improvement and prepare the family for emergency situations.
To learn more about the condition of your home, and get additional home safety and maintenance tips, contact your local WIN Home Inspection professional! We are here to help with one-stop home inspection services to protect your home and family.