House fires can happen anytime of year but they are even more likely during this time of year with fireplaces, heaters and holiday lights in heavy use. You want to protect your loved ones as well as your home so it’s important to be fire conscious to prevent a fire from ever starting. We’ve compiled a few tips for you that will help to keep your family safer and decrease your chances of experiencing the horrible tragedy of a fire.
Periodically check small appliances for damaged electrical cords, especially if they are old. The cords can wear out over years of use and form cracks exposing wires or even breaking them. If you see a damaged cord, throw the appliance out and buy a new one. Never try to fix a damaged electrical cord.
Try to use appliances that have an automatic shut off. If they don’t have that option, set a timer to remind you when the cooking is done. Never leave cooking unattended and keep pot lids nearby to cover the pot if a fire starts.
Wear appropriate clothing when cooking. Don’t wear long, flowing sleeves near burners or any fabric that is easily flammable. Wear a professional grade apron not only to protect your clothes from stains but to protect you from burns and flames.
Keep a fire extinguisher underneath the kitchen sink that is labeled for kitchen use so it can be use to put out cooking oil fires.
Fireplaces are lovely, warm additions to a home but you have to take proper care with them. Always use a fire screen that fits the opening of the fireplace and don’t leave the fire unattended. Get your chimney cleaned at least once per year.
Take care with candles and don’t leave them unattended when they are lit. Candles can be knocked over by pets or children and start a fire quickly. Also be certain they are placed away from fabric such as draperies.
Try to keep smoking outside of the home but if you must smoke inside then be cautious about fallen embers or cigarettes. Never leave a lit cigarette unattended in an ashtray and extinguish them in water before they are disposed.
Don’t overload electrical outlets with a tangle of cords plugged into them. Plugging in too much runs the risk of not only tripping a breaker but also possibly causing an outlet to fry and start a fire. Turn off holiday lights when no one is home or when you are going to sleep.
Install a smoke alarm in every bedroom or, at the very least, outside the sleeping area. Make sure you check electric blankets and other appliances for damaged cords before using them. The bedroom should also be a flame free zone - no candles, no smoking, no open flames.
Never store flammable materials such as gasoline or propane indoors. Gasoline, paints, thinners, industrial cleaners and other flammable materials should be keep in appropriate containers, in well ventilated areas, and away from ignition sources in a storage shed or garage. Remove all garbage, paper or oily rags from the area and keep a fire extinguisher easily accessible.
Finally, in general are some common sense tips that bear repeating. Keep matches and lighters away from children. Yes, your children know better but flames can be irresistable so don’t give them the opportunity to be tempted. Also, if you use space heaters, keep them away from anything that could burn which is fabric as well as wood. Never fall asleep with a portable space heater running and make sure you have one that is made to turn off if it becomes tipped over.
We want you to have a happy and safe holiday season. Please share this article to your friends and family so they can learn how to prevent house fires too. Thanks!