October is Fire Prevention Month, and with the colder weather on its way, it’s the perfect time to talk about home fire safety. Smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and escape plans are all necessities, but even with these in place, fires can happen anywhere. Luckily there are plenty of precautions you can take to lower the risk of a fire happening in your home. Here are our 10 extra tips for preventing home fires.
1. Watch Your Flames
From stove tops to fireplaces to candles—flames should be within sight and watched at all times. Never walk away from the stove when burners are lit. Keeping flames in sight will allow you to recognize and act quickly if something goes wrong. And of course, have fire extinguishers and smoke alarms in the kitchen and near any other areas where heat or flame are used.
2. Keep Flammable Materials Away from Heat
On that note, be sure that any flammable items like paper, fabric, blankets, clothes, and even hair are kept away from heat or flame. When lighting a fire in your fireplace, keep your hair out of the way and be wary of loose clothes and sleeves.
Similarly, keep any cooking oils stored away from the stove or other sources of heat. Gas you may be storing in your garage for your vehicles or lawnmowers should also be kept safely away from anything that can spark or generate flame. Keep these materials contained and in approved containers to reduce the risk they pose.
3. Unplug What You’re Not Using
It may seem harmless to leave chargers, computers, televisions, and game systems plugged in when they’re not in use, but if they’re plugged in, they’re drawing electricity—and that’s a potential fire hazard. Power surges, overheating, and the continuous flow of electricity can all potentially cause fires. Unplugging any electronics not in use can reduce the risk.
4. Use Surge Protectors
Electrical fires are most likely to be caused by a surge in power. Plugging all your electronics into surge protectors will help protect your devices from excess electricity and reduce the risk of electrical fire in your home. It can also help reduce the strength of an electrical fire in the event it does occur.
5. Put Out the Fireplace & Turn Off Heated Appliances
If you light a fire in your fireplace, be sure that fire is completely extinguished well before you leave the room. Embers can burn for a long time and flames can show up long after you think a fire has died, so it’s important to completely smother the fire and watch for any resurgence before leaving your house or heading to bed.
Heated appliances like dryers and dishwashers, as well as space heaters and heated blankets, draw a large amount of heat. Don’t leave these running when you’re away from home as they can catch fire easily—and these fires can grow quite large. Being home when these appliances are running allows you time to react if something goes wrong and stop a small fire before it becomes a big one.
6. Check Your Electrical
Monitor all visible electrical wires and wall outlets in your home and note any that suddenly start experiencing problems or stop working. This could be a sign that something deeper is wrong with the electrical system behind your walls and should be investigated. Keep an eye out for frayed and damaged cords, as well, as they can also pose a fire risk.
7. Reduce Clutter
Staying organized isn’t just for your mental health. House clutter actually can cause fires to both start spontaneously and spread quickly. The less clutter you keep around your home, the lower your risk of a house fire occurring and the higher the likelihood you’ll be able to save your home if one occurs. Keeping organized and reducing your clutter can help keep you and your home protected.
8. Remove Lint and Change Filters
When was the last time you checked the filter on your heating system? Lint can easily build up, and when mixed with the heat from your furnace, it can catch fire. Be sure to frequently clean your filter as even a small amount of lint can cause a large fire. The same rule applies to your dryer—so be sure to remove the lint from the filter after every load.
9. Clear Debris
Clutter on the outside of your home can be just as dangerous as clutter inside. Leaves, debris, firewood, rags, and any other flammable materials are at risk of catching fire and can easily spread flames to other parts of your home.
10. Get Your Furnace Checked
Some things you should leave to the professionals—and making sure your furnace is getting scheduled maintenance is one of them. Broken furnaces, gas line leaks, and loose valves all increase your risk of fire. But having a professional regularly inspect your furnace can stop problems before they occur.
Before a Fire Happens
Being prepared and keeping your home as safe as possible can help reduce your risk of a home fire. But in the event a fire does occur, it’s important you get the right coverage, understand your policy, and trust that your insurance provider will be there for you and your family when you need it most. Contact one of our dedicated local agents today to get a quote, explore your coverage options, or review your existing policy.
How to Prevent a Fire in Your Home. StaySafe.org. https://staysafe.org/how-to-prevent-fire-in-your-home/
How to Prevent a House Fire. WikiHow. https://www.wikihow.com/Prevent-a-House-Fire
Top 5 Simple Ways to Prevent Home Fires. US News. https://money.usnews.com/loans/mortgages/articles/top-simple-ways-to-prevent-home-fires