Have you done everything you can to lower your home’s risk of a fire? While most homeowners are apt to answer “yes,” the reality is that minimizing your home’s fire risk takes constant attention. As the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) kicks off Fire Prevention Week 2018, it’s the perfect time to asses your home’s risk and address potential problems following the NFPA’s call to action for fire prevention this fall: “Look. Listen. Learn. Be Aware. Fire Can Happen Anywhere.”
Do you have fire risk lurking around your home? The first step of this year’s Fire Prevention Week is to take stock of your home’s fire risk. Look around your home to identify and address potential fire hazards. Here are some of the common places you should be looking.
- Your fireplace and chimney. The NFPA recommends having your chimney and fireplace swept and inspected at least once per year, preferably before you light your first fire of the fall. This lowers your risk of a chimney fire, which could spread into your home.
- The clothes dryer vents. The NFPA also recommends having your clothing dryer vents professionally cleaned at least once per year, as clogged vents can cause dryers to ignite to cause a fire.
- Electrical outlets and extension cords. Electrical outlets and extension cords are usually loaded with too many plugs, and this can spark a fire in your home. You should rearrange outlets to prevent this from happening.
- Candles. If you burn candles in your home, make sure that all candles are away from flammable items and are out of the reach of pets or small children. You should never leave burning candles unattended.
- Heating appliances. Do you have a safe zone around your fireplace, heating stove, furnace and space heater? Anything soft or flammable should be kept at least three feet away from these heating appliances.
Can you hear your smoke alarms from all areas of your home? Now is the time to check. You should have a working smoke alarm on every floor of your home and every sleeping area. Test these smoke alarms at least once every six months. Ideally, you should have someone help you with this task. Ask a person in your family to stand in a distant area of your home to make sure they can hear the alarm sounding when testing. If you have children, make sure they know what this alarm sounds like and what to do when it sounds.
What would you do if your smoke alarms were going off and smoke is filling your home? You need to create a fire escape plan for your home, and you need to make sure everyone in your home knows this plan. The plan should include having two ways out of every room, a meeting place outside in a safe distance from your home, and a plan for calling 911 once you have safely left your house.
At Environmental Chimney Service, we are dedicated to helping to keep your home and family safe from fires. If you need a chimney sweeping, inspection, or repairs for your fireplace, chimney or dryer vent cleaning, call to schedule your appointment today!