10 Home Safety Tips for National Fire Prevention Week

The U.S. Fire administration estimates winter home fires cause 905 deaths and over 2 billion dollars in damages every year.

Here are 10 simple steps to help you avoid fires and reduce the risk of injury in the event that one occurs:

Smoke Alarms – Fire can spread rapidly and creates deadly smoke which can be even more deadly. Install a smoke detector on every floor near each family member’s bedroom. By doing so, the alarms can alert sleeping family members if there is an emergency.

Don’t overload plugs – Avoid using an excessive amount of extension cords and overloading circuits. Double check that plugs fit properly into outlets. A loose connection between the plug and outlet can cause overheating and start a fire.

Unplug appliances – If an appliance is not in use, unplug it. Follow the manufacturer’s safety guidelines. Immediately shut off and unplug any appliance that is overheating, smells strange, or sparks. Do not plug it in and use it again. Consult a professional to repair the appliance or consider replacing it.

Position appliances cautiously – Keep appliances like TVs away from windows and curtains. Curtains can spread a fire quickly.

Clean Dryer Vents – Clothes dryer vents often start fires. Each time a drying cycle is complete, clean the lint from the dryer’s filter. The exhaust duct should be made of metal tubing, not metal or foil.

Check for lint build up behind the dryer – Also, clean the exhaust duct with a dryer vent brush to prevent blockage. Do your need your ducts cleaned? Burkholder’s offers professional duct cleaning services. Check out our website for more information on duct cleaning.

Take extra precaution using alternative heaters – If using a space heater make sure there is at least 3 feet of space surrounding the unit. Keep it away from flammable items such as furniture, curtains, and bedding. If using a fire place, use fire screens and have your chimney inspected every year.

Prepare an escape route – Create an escape route in case of an emergency with your family. Plan a route from every room in the house. Remember, stay low and check for hot doors.

Be careful with decorations – If you use string lights for the holidays, double check the wires before hanging them up. Discard any strings that have frayed or exposed wires. Also, avoid hanging them near anything that can catch on fire.

Check electronics regularly – Perform inspections on all of your electronic equipment and wiring once a month.

Regular HVAC Maintenance – At Burkholder’s we recommend that you have your HVAC system maintained on a regular basis. This is the best way to prevent any potential problems such as damage, leakage, or circuitry problems. Do you need to schedule your annual maintenance inspection? Visit our website to request an appointment.

Fire prevention week is a great reminder to promote the importance of being prepared for an emergency. Remember, the best way to prevent an emergency situation from occurring is to continuously practice fire safety all year long. By following this tips you can potentially save your life or the life of a loved one.