How to Identify and Deal With Fire Hazards

Each year, fires destroy homes and cause serious injuries and deaths across the country. Many of those disasters are entirely preventable. The average home is filled with fire hazards that homeowners don’t recognize.

Smoke Detectors
Your home should have smoke detectors near the sleeping and living areas. Many people don’t keep track of the age of smoke detectors, don’t change the batteries often enough or remove the batteries to stop a false alarm and forget to put them back. These actions can leave a family unaware of a fire until it’s too late to escape. Keep written records showing when you bought your smoke detectors and change the batteries at recommended intervals.

Cooking, Appliances, and Electronics
Turning the heat up too high, leaving food on the stove unattended, not cleaning grease from the stove after each use, and allowing curtains, dishtowels, potholders, and other combustible materials to get too close to the stove can cause a fire. Keep the area around the stove clean and free of clutter. Never leave a child unattended in the kitchen. Kids may not understand the danger of fire and may be tempted to play with the stove.

Clean the lint filter in the dryer after each use and keep flammable materials away from a water heater to avoid a fire. Have outdated appliances and light fixtures repaired or replaced to avoid having a circuit overload and cause a fire.

An outlet that sparks or that is loose should be replaced by an electrician before it starts a fire. Avoid overloading a power strip or extension cord or using one that is damaged. If your laptop runs hot, the battery may be malfunctioning. Replace it to avoid a fire.

Other Fire Hazards
If you use a fireplace, have it cleaned by a professional every year to remove soot and debris that could catch fire. Keep any flammable materials away from the fireplace and never leave children or pets unattended in a room where a fire is burning.

Dust bunnies that accumulate in corners and under furniture may not be noticed, but a faulty electrical outlet or appliance can ignite the dust and cause a fire to spread quickly. If your home is dusty, give it a thorough cleaning and work to keep it clean from now on.

Sometimes a fire starts outside a house and engulfs the entire structure. A barbecue can start a fire if grease causes flames to shoot up and ignite the roof or porch. Smoking in the garage to stay out of the rain can cause gasoline, chemicals or rags to catch fire. When using flames outdoors, stay clear of any flammable materials.

Look Around Your Home
House fires are more common than many people realize, but they can often be avoided simply by recognizing and addressing potential dangers. Go from room to room to identify fire hazards in your home and eliminate them.

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