The colder months are when the risk of fire increases from cooking, fireplaces and candles. In fact, in December alone, candles are estimated to be the cause of over one-third of home decoration fires. No matter what time of year it is, we all need reminders about fire safety. Preventing household fires is important not only because your home is one of the largest investments you will make, but because keeping your family safe is a huge priority. The best way to do this is to take the proper precautions to help prevent household fires.
Here are a few fire safety tips to help keep your family and home safe year-round.
General Household Fire Prevention Tips:
Check your smoke detector regularly.
Change the batteries in your smoke detectors twice a year.
Have a fire escape plan in place and practice with your family once a year.
Keep a fire extinguisher in an easily accessible area and have it refilled every 5-6 years after the manufacture date. Check with your local fire department to see if they offer fire extinguisher refill services.
Check the stovetop and oven after cooking to make sure the power is off.
Refrain from having anything flammable near a fireplace, heater or grill.
Never leave candles unattended in a room.
Check your dryer vent monthly for excess debris.
Try not to run the washer or dryer while you're away from home.
If you smoke, smoke outside to reduce risk of a fire starting inside, and make sure cigarettes and cigars are completely out before disposal.
Seasonal Household Fire Prevention:
In the warmer months, make sure you take precautions when grilling outdoors, such as keeping your grill in an open area away from your home.
Keep your grill clean from grease build-up.
Let lawn equipment like mowers and weed trimmers properly cool down before storing them in a garage or shed.
Before celebrating with fireworks, clean out gutters and move flammable items out of the way to prevent debris from catching fire.
Practice firework safety.
Keep a large distance from your home when burning brush in your yard or building a fire pit and stay with the fire until it's completely out.
Once the temperatures start dropping, be careful with your space heaters. Unplug them while you sleep or when you leave your home.
Inspect and replace decorative lights, and refrain from overloading outlets and connectors before stringing them up.
Use proper light-up decorations for outdoor and indoors. Outdoor lights will be made to be more weather resistant.
If you’re using a real tree for the holidays, keep it properly watered and away from fire sources.
Keep your holiday candles away from flammable materials like paper or cloth.
If possible, opt for flameless candles for decorations and celebrations.
Kitchen and Grease Fires Prevention
One of the key areas to pay attention to when it comes to house fire prevention is your kitchen. Did you know that on average, over 172,000 house fires a year start in the kitchen? Kitchen grease fires can get out of control and escalate quickly if you're not careful.
To prevent a grease fire in your kitchen, follow these tips:
Never leave a hot pan unattended.
If your stovetop cooking is smoking due to overcooked food, turn down the heat.
Keep flammable items like cookbooks and recipe cards away from your stovetop.
Clean your stove of grease and oil regularly.
Stopping A Grease Fire
It's also important to know how to stop a grease fire if one does start in your kitchen. The steps you can take to stop a grease fire on your stovetop from spreading are:
Smother the fire by sliding a lid over the pan.
Turn off the heat source immediately.
Leave the pan covered until it's completely cooled.
Fireplace and Chimney Fire Prevention
You can enjoy the coziness and warmth of your fireplace while still keeping fire safety top of mind. Here are some precautions to take when using your fireplace:
Place fire screens in front of your fireplace to prevent stray embers from escaping and catching fire.
Be sure your fireplace is ventilated properly so smoke can exit your home.
Maintain and clean chimneys regularly.
Always put out a fire before bed or leaving the house and don’t leave it unattended.
Use approved, undamaged firewood or fuel, depending on the type of fireplace you have.
Let ashes completely cool before cleaning them out for a new fire.
Using these fire prevention tips will give you peace of mind and allow you to enjoy homeownership. At HomeFirst®, we offer insurance and home protection advice to give you just that, peace of mind.