Home fires pose a serious danger. In 2015, home fires across the United States caused 2,560 deaths, 11,075 injuries and $7 billion in damage, according to statistics from the National Fire Protection Association. In all, fire departments in the United States responded to more than 365,000 home fires in 2015. So, in an attempt to reduce home fires in the United States, National Fire Prevention Week once again will be observed Oct. 8 through 14.
At Environmental Chimney Service, we know it’s part of our role as certified chimney sweeps to help educate our customers about fire prevention and about the services we offer that can help to reduce their risk of a home fire. Here are some tips to keep your home and family safe.
Chimney and Fireplace Safety
Home-heating appliances are a leading cause of house fires. Maintaining your fireplace and chimney, and observing some general safety tips, can help you reduce your risk of a fire started by your hearth. To reduce your risk of a fireplace-related fire:
- Have your chimney swept and inspected at least once per year.
Dirty chimneys are the No. 1 cause of chimney fires.
- Create a 3-foot “safe zone” around your hearth.
Nothing flammable should be within that zone, and children and pets should be kept away.
- Use a fireplace screen.
If you have an open-hearth fireplace, use a fireplace screen to keep embers from flying out of the fireplace and igniting nearby furniture or décor, or from burning people who might be near the hearth.
- Only burn the fuel that was intended for the fireplace.
Never put cardboard, wrapping paper, garbage, coal or Christmas trees into the fireplace.
- Don’t leave the fire unattended.
Extinguish your fire if you are leaving your home or going to bed.
Clothing Dryer Safety
Clothing dryers also can overheat and ignite, resulting in a damaging home fire. To reduce the likelihood of a dryer fire:
- Have dryer vents cleaned and inspected at least once a year.
Lint-clogged vents can cause the dryer or overheat and ignite.
- Clean your lint trap between every load.
Never operate the dryer without the lint trap in place.
- Don’t overload your dryer.
- Have your dryer vents cleaned immediately if you notice any of the following signs.
Clothes are taking longer to dry than normal, the dryer becomes hot to the touch during dry cycles, or you detect a burning small when the dryer is running.
General Home Safety
While the goal of Fire Prevention Week is to lower the occurrence of home fires, we also want to educate you on how to prepare for the worst! Make sure your home has smoke detectors on each floor of your home and in all bedrooms. Test the batteries in your smoke detector at least twice per year. Have an emergency fire plan in place in your home, and make sure all family members are aware of that plan.
Call Environmental Chimney Service for help!
If you are looking to reduce your risk of a home fire, call Environmental Chimney Service for help! We can clean and inspect your chimney or dryer vents, or outfit your fireplace with safety accessories like heavy duty glass doors. We are committed to reducing our clients’ home fire risks.