National Fire Prevention Week: 6 Fire Prevention Tips
Home fires devastate hundreds of thousands of families each year. In 2015 alone, there were 1,345,000 fires reported in the United States, resulting in over 3,000 deaths and 15,000 injuries. Among the most common causes of fires are kitchen stoves, faulty wiring, lighting, clothes dryers, and candles. Monday marked the beginning of National Fire Prevention Week, and because we’re committed to ensuring the safety and peace of mind of home homeowners, we’re going to spend this week helping you safeguard your home against a possible fire.
It’s essential to note that you can’t prevent 100 percent of fires; however, there are certain measures you can take to significantly reduce the possibility of one. The most important thing you can do as a homeowner is always be proactive and vigilant. We’ve put together what we believe to be the most important tips you can follow for fire prevention.
Schedule a safety inspection.
Your home could have faulty wiring or safety code violations. Because the wiring in your home runs behind the scenes and isn’t visible to the eye, you could have poor wiring and not even know it. Can you remember the last time you had your home inspected for safety issues? Follow these guidelines for when to schedule your inspection:
- If you’re purchasing a home, new or old
- If your home is 40 years or older
- If you’re adding an appliance
- If you’re undergoing a major renovation
During an inspection, your electrician will inspect the nooks and crannies of your home to ensure safety and peace of mind. They should test the following:
- Circuit breakers and panel
- Surge protectors
- GFCI outlets
- Smoke detectors
Don’t forgo having your home inspected! This important task could literally save lives. Because a safety inspection includes testing wires and handling potentially harmful equipment and appliances, we recommend leaving this job to a licensed professional who has the proper tools and training. Handling faulty wiring without proper knowledge of how it works could actually lead to a fire. So, err on the side of caution by scheduling an appointment with us today!
Practice caution when cooking.
The leading cause of house fires is stove-top cooking. Have you ever started to cook something, but got distracted and left the room? Unfortunately, too many homeowners are familiar with this. Before you know it, a fire breaks out and the flame is too large to get under control.
The easiest solution here is to never abandon your cooking. Doing so will ensure that whatever your cooking ends up on the table ““ safely. If at any point you need to leave the kitchen to address an issue, simply turn the heat off until you return.
Ensure safe home heating methods.
During the winter months, this becomes the leading cause for home fires. Many homeowners choose to use space heaters to keep warm, which have the potential to cause a fire when they come in contact with curtains or sheets.
To reduce the risk of fire, keep a 3-foot clear space in all directions surrounding your space heater. Furthermore, avoid placing it near curtains, furniture, bedspreads, and pets.
If you use central heating to warm your home, be sure to have it inspected on an annual basis. If you regularly burn logs, it’s important to also have your chimney inspected and cleaned regularly.
Replace frayed electrical cords.
Most of us like to use things until they absolutely need to be replaced, but in most cases, this is a dangerous practice, especially when it comes to electrical cords and wiring. If you’re currently using electrical cords that are fraying or have exposed wiring, let us be the ones to tell you that it’s time to replace! Your safety is much more important than saving money. Regularly inspect your electrical cords to ensure they’re in good shape.
Avoid using candles.
We’ve all forgotten to blow out a candle a time or two. Because they have an open flame and are among the most common causes of house fires, we recommend switching to battery operated candles instead. However, if you’re adamant on using candles, always remember to blow them out when you leave the room. Never leave a candle unattended or in a room in which an adult is not present.
Never smoke indoors.
In addition to it posing numerous health risks, cigarettes are also a leading cause of house fires – and the top cause of fire-related deaths. Most often, people don’t realize their cigarette butt isn’t completely out, and then it comes in contact with flammable surfaces, such as couch cushions.
The best way to prevent cigarette-related fires is to institute a “no smoking indoors” policy. As an added measure, be sure to pour water on the cigarette to ensure the flame is out.
In case a fire does happen to occur, you’ll want to have working smoking detectors. Be sure to test them periodically to ensure they’re working.
Hickerson Electrical is your source for all home electrical services. We’re ready and willing to deliver top-quality service to your home at a moment’s notice. So call today at (703) 594-3913.