How To Minimize Your Risk of a House Fire
From a small kitchen fire to an engulfing blaze, fire can have a devastating effect on your home. Did you know that most fires occur during the winter months? In addition to heating our homes, most cooking occurs indoors in the winter and smokers are more apt to stay inside for their cigarette.
How can you minimize your risk of fire to protect your home and belongings?
At the first sign of a fire, smoke alarms will alert you of the problem and help you get out of an unsafe situation. One of the ways you can protect your home is to be vigilant with these important safety features. On the first day of the month, use the “test” button to ensure they are working and change the batteries when we change our clocks. If you follow these scheduled maintenance practices, you can have confidence in your smoke alarm if and when you need it.
While wood burning stoves and fireplaces come to mind as a hazard, other heat sources can be dangerous as well. Ensure your furnace, fireplace, and heaters are in good working order. Plan for a professional inspection each year to confirm they are safe to operate.
If you use space heaters, keep them away from flammable materials. They should have a minimum of one meter of space around them. Be sure to check the electrical cord often for signs of wear or degradation. Never run the electrical cord (or any extension cord, etc.) under a rug. The weight and wear on it could damage the cord and become a fire hazard.
Cooking is the most common cause for house fires and therefore, the kitchen deserves your undivided attention.
There are a number of items that can cause kitchen flare ups: leftover food particles in your oven or on the stove, tea towels, cookbooks or other papers. Be sure to keep things tidy while using the stove.
When cooking with grease or at high temperatures, things can get out of control quickly. For this reason, you should never leave the room when you’re cooking. If you do have a grease fire, cover the pan with a lid to quash the flames. You may also use baking soda on a shallow grease fire.
The important thing to remember is that it takes just a split second for a small flame to turn into a major problem. Use caution in the kitchen because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Cooking on a BBQ should always be done outside. It may be tempting to use a BBQ or campstove if the power is out and you need to prepare food, but this should never be done inside or in a garage. Barbecues release carbon monoxide which can be deadly if not properly ventilated.
Far too often, the cause for house fires is “careless smoking”. This is one factor that is completely preventable. Never smoke in bed or even in your bedroom and keep your ashtrays away from any combustible materials.
If you have a frozen pipe, you are at risk for water damage, but don’t trade one risk for another. You should never use an open flame such as a blowtorch, kerosene heater, etc. to thaw the pipe. Safely use an electric hair dryer or wrap towels around the pipe that have been soaked in hot water.
Flammable liquids such as gasoline and paint should be stored in a safe place – away from sources of heat. This could be in your garage or shed but never inside your home.
While it may seem unlikely, the heat from your clothes dryer can catch lint on fire. Before each load, clear out the lint trap.
It’s a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher in your home. If a small fire breaks out, effectively using this device can prevent it from spreading. However, it is imperative that you understand how to properly use a fire extinguisher. It will do you no good to simply have one in the house.
Make a point of teaching each member of your family how to use it and practice a fire safety plan. You never know when you might need to put your plan into action. In fact, it might just save a life.
Fires can be devastating but so can smoke damage. If your home has been exposed to fire or smoke, contact Ontario Restoration Services. Our professional team knows how to deal with destruction of all forms.