As temperatures drop and the leaves fall, it’s important to consider fire safety in and around our homes. Some simple preparations can go a long way in preventing fires and protecting our homes and loved ones. Here are a few tips to improve fire safety this season.
Improve Fire Safety in Your Home
1. Test Your Smoke Alarms and CO Detectors
Make sure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working correctly. Place smoke detectors throughout the house, including one in every bedroom and on each floor. Test them regularly and change the batteries at least twice a year.
2. Keep Flammable Materials Away from Heat Sources
During cold weather, we turn up the heat and use more flame-producing resources like candles and fireplaces. Keep flammable materials – including curtains, upholstery, and furniture – away from these heat sources.
3. Clean the Chimney
If you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, have the chimney cleaned at least once a year. Creosote, a by-product of burning, will accumulate on the chimney’s walls, increasing the risk of fire. And a chimney fire can quickly spread and cause devastating damage to your home.
4. Maintain Your Heating System
Inspect the heating system or call a professional before the cold weather sets in. A full-service inspection includes cleaning or replacing air filters and checking for leaks or malfunctions. Neglecting the heating system can lead to dangerous situations like carbon monoxide poisoning or fires.
5. Keep a Fire Extinguisher Handy
Keep a working fire extinguisher on every level of your home. Make sure you know how to use it and that it is in an easy-to-access location. If a fire breaks out, every second counts; quick use of a fire extinguisher can contain the flames and prevent further damage.
6. Fire Safety When Cooking
The kitchen is busy during fall and winter as we prepare warm holiday meals for family and friends. Always have an adult present when the stove is in use. Keep flammable items like dish towels and food packaging away from the stovetop burners. Teach small children to stay a safe distance from cooking appliances when food is being prepared.
7. Be Mindful of Festive Decorations
Fall and winter are times for festive decorations like holiday trees, candles, and lights. Although these decorations can bring joy to your home, they can also be a fire hazard. Keep seasonal decor away from heat sources and check holiday lights and other electronics for signs of wear or damage. Don’t use damaged strands of lights, and never run electrical cords under rugs. They could overheat, leading to a fire.
Fire-safe practices are important, especially during the fall and winter months. Simple precautions like testing your smoke alarms, keeping your home free of fire hazards, and having an emergency plan will make a big difference in protecting your home and family.