Did you know that residential house fires kill more than 2,500 and injure nearly 13,000 people annually in the U.S.? That amounts to seven deaths a day, which is seven deaths too many. While we can’t prevent 100% of residential fires, we can take certain steps to make your home – and your family – safer. Now is the perfect time to inspect your home – room by room – keeping an eye out for potential fire risks and alleviating them.
Bedrooms and Hallways
To start, be sure smoke alarms are installed on every level of your home, and inside and outside of every bedroom. Make sure they are less than 10 years old; if not, it’s time to replace them. Test and clean each alarm monthly for optimal performance and peace of mind. If you own fire extinguishers, inspect them for corrosion, damage or leakage, check the pressure and document your findings on the inspection tag.
The leading cause of house fires is cooking equipment (roughly 50% of residential fires are caused by cooking equipment each year). Look around and use common sense when operating the stove. Ensure it’s free of grease and flammable objects (wooden spoons, dish towels, even oven mitts). Check that the hood is clean and vented outdoors, and although they say a watched pot never boils, watch your pots and pans while cooking.
Living Rooms and Offices
After cooking equipment, heating equipment causes the most residential fires. Have your chimney and furnace inspected yearly, and be sure that flammable objects, including furniture and curtains, are at least three feet away from heat sources such as space heaters and baseboards. Never use an extension cord with a heater; always plug it directly into your wall outlet. Throughout the home, make sure that electrical cords aren’t placed under rugs or carpet, and inspect cords for frays and cracks. Never overload electrical outlets.
Basements and Laundry Rooms
Nearly 3,000 clothes dryer fires are reported annually. One-third of these fires could be prevented by cleaning the lint trap after each use and keeping the venting system to the outdoors clean and lint-free.
If there are smokers in your home, have them smoke outdoors and make sure matches and lighters are kept hidden and out of reach of children. If you use candles, never leave children or pets unattended, and always extinguish them before leaving the room or heading to bed.
A Final Piece of Advice
Have a fire escape plan in place and practice it with your family twice a year. If the unthinkable happens, follow your escape plan and remember that once you’re out of the house…stay out!
We’re Your Electrical Experts
These tips will help keep you and your family safe in the event of a fire. Share these tips with your loved ones, and remember, if you need electrical service, call on us at 410-276-3420. We’re here to help.