Every year in the US, there are over 350,000 house fires reported. Fires in the home can cause death, injury and destruction of your property. While not all fires are avoidable, you can significantly reduce the risk of a fire starting and spreading in your home.
Read on for some essential tips on preventing fires on your property.
Older properties that haven’t updated their electrics could pose a fire risk. The materials used in older wiring are not as robust and safe as the more modern ones. They can become overloaded more easily and become too hot. If the insulation has also deteriorated, this can cause sparks and fire.
You should get yours replaced by a qualified electrician to ensure that it meets all current safety regulations.
Old Or Damaged Appliances
While it might be tempting to hang on to appliances or other electricals, you need to be sure that it’s not dangerous to do so. If an appliance or its electrical cord is showing signs of being damaged, worn or emitting burning smells, then you should have it repaired or replaced immediately.
Keep Your Clothes Dryer Vents Clear
Using a dryer is a necessity for most people, especially if you have a family or a lot of things to wash and dry. Unfortunately, dryers are a common cause of fires in the home. This can be down to a dryer overheating or lint and fluff catching fire.
Modern dryers have more safety features than older models but there are things that you can do to reduce the risks. Firstly, never leave your dryer unattended when you leave the house or have it on while you sleep.
Clean out the vents and filters after every load of laundry is dried. You should also ensure that the dryer is in a suitable location, with plenty of ventilation.
Don’t Overload Outlets
It seems like everything we have in our homes needs to be plugged in these days. It’s easy to try and plug everything into adapters in the outlets. But this can cause overload and overheat. If you’re using a multi-plug extension adapter, then make sure that it is surge protected, meaning that it will cut the power at the first sign of overload. This will not only protect the appliances you have plugged in but reduce the chances of fires too.
Use Fires And Heaters Safely
Not all homes are heated by central heating and radiators. Many people have wood burners, fires and electric heaters too. It’s important that these are used safely by everyone in the home. This includes not placing them too close to combustible materials and fabrics, and not hanging clothes or other items on them to dry.
Ensure Furniture Meets Safety Regulations
Items in your home which are covered in fabric, or have foam padding or stuffing should comply with fire safety laws. These are in place to ensure that if it does catch fire, it does not spread as quickly. Many cheap or illegal pieces of furniture will catch fire and combust far quicker. Always check before you buy.
Don’t Smoke Inside
Another common cause of house fires is cigarettes. In many cases, someone has fallen asleep smoking in bed or on the sofa or failed to put the cigarette out properly before discarding it.
Keep Children Away From Sources Of Fire
If you have children around, you need to teach them about the importance of fire safety. This includes things like playing with matches or lighters and what to do around fireplaces. Of course, very young children won’t understand so the best course of action is to keep anything that is potentially dangerous well out of reach of them.
Close Your Doors At Night
If a fire starts in your home at night, then you may not realize it until it’s too late, especially if you don’t have fire alarms.
One of the best ways to stop a fire from spreading quickly, giving you extra time to escape, is to shut the doors in your home downstairs while you’re asleep. Even if they aren’t fire doors, they can restrict a fire for a limited time.
Install And Test Your Fire Alarms
One of the safest things that you can do for your family is to have the right number of working smoke alarms. These should be placed near locations like the kitchen and other potential sources of fire. You should also have them in areas around bedrooms and hallways so that if a fire breaks out at night, you are alerted early.
There are many smart smoke alarms on the market that you can work with through a smart speaker or your phone. They can alert you even when you aren’t in the house.
Buy A Fire Extinguisher
Many people don’t realize that there are fire extinguishers suitable for the home. They aren’t the giant, complicated things you see in offices or public buildings. Smaller, multipurpose fire extinguishers can be placed in your home and could be the difference between putting out a small fire early, before it becomes out of control.
Practice How You Will Get Out Of The House
In the event of a fire in your home, how will you get to safety? If you’re on the lower levels of a property, then it could be easier to get out of a door or break a window. But what happens if you’re on an upper level or somewhere not near a door? If you need to break a window to get out, do you have a tool or safety ladder to do this?
House fires can be devastating, you want to do everything you can to prevent them from happening. While not all fires are avoidable, many can be avoided by taking a few steps. You also need to ensure that you have the right alarms in place to alert you and give you time to get to safety in the event of a fire.