It’s October, which means it’s also Fire Safety Month.
All month long, we will be providing tips on our blog and social media on how you can keep your home and, more importantly, your loved ones safe from the dangers of fire.
There are numerous ways you can help prevent a disastrous fire in your home, so we thought we would share those tips with you to put your mind at ease and encourage you to take a few minutes to go through your residence to ensure things are safely in order for the coming year.
Fire Safety Checklist
- You should have smoke alarms and a carbon monoxide detector on every floor in your home and especially near bedrooms. Also, check batteries in both, on a regular basis, if not self-recharging. It is recommended you change batteries when you move the clocks forward and back (spring and fall).
- If you have them, make sure your fire sprinklers are properly installed and tested. Studies show that automatic sprinkler systems are the most effective way to protect against the dangers of a fire in the home. It’s important to make sure they are unobstructed and that they have been recently tested. If you notice an issue yourself, leave all maintenance to the professionals, so you know it’s done right. Detached homeowners and many in town homes are on their own to ensure these systems were correctly installed and are reliable. They aren’t necessarily required to be tested annually, so make sure yourself.
- Keep a fire extinguisher on every floor of your home. You should especially have one in the kitchen, in any attached garage and in basements.
- Check to see if your dryer exhaust vent is clean and has not become a fire hazard. Poor or inappropriate dryer exhaust venting can lead to a buildup of lint, which can be a major fire hazard. While it’s important to clean the lint out of the filter every time before you start a new load, it is equally important to be aware of how clean your dryer vent is as well as the type of exhaust vent materials being used. It’s also important to note that the use of vinyl flexible ducting, which many homes still have installed, is all but completely prohibited by clothes dryer manufacturers, due to it also being a fire hazard.
- Be sure that nothing can come into contact with baseboard heaters, such as curtains, toys, dropped clothing/bedding or electrical cables.
- Store flammable liquids in approved containers and well away from all heat sources.
- Make sure the fuses and circuit breakers in your electrical service panel are the correct amperage and not hot. Never replace a fuse or breaker that blows with a higher-amperage.
- Do not overload electrical outlets or run wires or extension cords under permanent rugs, carpets or furniture. Do not use extension cords for extended time periods.
- Prepare an evacuation plan for your home and hold practice fire drills until every family member instinctively knows what to do in the event of an emergency, including where to meet once outside (arrange a spot at a safe distance away).
- On the exterior of your home, clear away combustibles, such as dead branches, grass, shrubbery, fire wood, etc., which could be ignited.
- Have a reliable garden hose at the ready in case of a fire threat nearby (must be connected to a frost-free hose bibb, if left outdoors over winter).
- Keep matches and lighters in a safe place, out of the reach of children. Never leave candles or fires burning unattended. Have wood and gas stoves, fireplaces, chimneys, furnaces and boilers checked at least once a year by a professional, or more frequently, depending on usage.
- Make sure occupants are educated about basic risk factors before using a fireplace and ensure additional safety measures are adhered to, in a shared or rented home.
If you follow this checklist, as well as recommendations from your local fire department, you will be able to rest easier knowing you have done everything in your power to protect you and your family from the dangers of a fire in the home.
Since October is Fire Safety Month, look out for more info this month on fire safety on our website, social media and in our upcoming newsletter.