According to national statistics, more people are injured and killed in house fires than any other kind of fire. Over 4,000 Americans are killed yearly in house fires, and many of these occur in the fall and wintertime, when people are cooped up inside and heaters/ovens are on more often. October is fire prevention month, so there is no better time to learn safety precautions to reduce the likelihood of fires in your home.
Here are a few things you can do to prevent fires, whether electrical or otherwise.
- Watch your outlets and extension cords. Hiding cords under rugs, overloading extension outlets, and leaving your plugs loose can cause overheating and possible fires. Make sure that outlets are properly protected and cooled down, and replace/repair any cords or appliances that cause overheating or are damaged.
- Make sure heaters aren’t left unattended. Space heaters can be a good way to keep small areas warm when you don’t want to heat the whole house. However, they can easily be tipped over or placed too close to beds or curtains. Make sure there is ample space between them and flammable items, and invest in a heater that turns off if it falls over.
- Check your smoke alarms. While it is a running joke that these need new batteries often and are annoying, they are just as necessary as carbon monoxide detectors. Ensure they are working properly, and do not hesitate to replace them if you believe you need a newer model. Even one working smoke detector can save your life.
- Use extra precaution during the holidays. Monitor jack-o-lanterns, candles, Christmas lights, and everything in between. Check your house often for fire hazards, and blow out any and all candles before bed. The festivities can wait until you wake up again. Leaving Christmas lights on for too long can cause them to overheat or the wires to go bad, check each strand of light before hanging them and replace if anything looks or feels like it could be a hazard.
- Clean dryer vents. Lint buildup and plastic hoses can catch fire easily. Make sure to take out your laundry when it is done drying, and check your vents and lint traps before the next load. Better safe than sorry is the key here.
- Never leave your oven or kitchen unwatched. While a watched pot never boils, you should never leave an active kitchen alone. Always have someone watching your cooking, set timers and alarms so you don’t forget about your food and let it catch fire. 50% of house fires are cooking related!
It may seem like these things will never happen to you, but house fires are always a possibility, especially if you don’t take precautions to avoid them. Real estate agents in San Antonio, TX, will tell you this risk is higher across the state than other parts of the US.
Regularly do patrols and check-ups around your house, resolve any issues that you see before they become a problem. If you smell burning or see an appliance sparking, quickly turn it off and repair or replace it. Safety is the most important thing, especially when it comes to your home, pets, and the people you live with.
Make sure to plan escape routes, and keep emergency contacts somewhere that everyone in the house can easily find them in a panic situation. Keep tips on how to solve different kinds of fires on hand – printing them out and keeping them in a folder will certainly help them be readily available when needed. It’s also important to ensure that everyone in your home is educated and aware on how to avoid and solve situations that may involve fire.
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