If you're currently a homeowner or are planning to be in the future, familiarizing yourself with basic fire prevention tips is one of the most important things you can do to protect your assets. While no one wants to think about losing their home to a fire, knowledge is power when it comes to preventing a disaster. National Fire Prevention Week started Sunday Oct 4th, so it's a great time to review some common fire prevention strategies.
Test your Smoke Alarms Regularly
Ensuring your smoke alarms are in working order is arguably the most important fire safety tip. Functioning smoke alarms can alert you and your family to potential danger before it's too late. Testing your smoke alarms is easy -- simply press and hold the button until you hear a loud sound. If you don't hear a sound, or if the sound is weak, replace your batteries right away. Make sure to test each of your home's smoke alarms every month.
Keep your Dryer Clean
The most common cause of a dryer fire is a failure to clean it. Dryer lint is extremely combustible, so you must remember to clean it every time you put in a new load of laundry. Otherwise, it could continue to build-up until it reaches the heating element.
Keep Cords in Working Condition
Frayed or chewed cords can be a fire hazard, so be sure to check the cords of all appliances before plugging them in. Never plug an appliance into an extension cord and avoid running any cords under carpet or rugs, as this could cause them to overheat. Large-current appliances including refrigerators, space heaters, window ac units, and washer-dryers need to plug directly into an outlet rather than any kind of extension cord. The NYDFs outlet safety guide notes that their high power usage can "generate increased heat in the cord, causing it to overheat, melt, or ignite."
Don't Forget About Candles
Candles are one of the leading causes of house fires year after year. Never leave a room or fall asleep with a candle burning unattended. Also, be sure not to place them on uneven surfaces and keep them far away from flammable materials such as clothing or blankets.
Cook With Caution
If you're cooking, always remain in the kitchen while the oven, stove, fryer, or grill are on. If you have to leave, be sure to turn your cooking unit off, or at least reduce the heat. After you're done cooking, make sure to remove any leftover food particles from the oven or stove, as they could potentially catch fire the next time you cook.
Make sure you learn the proper techniques for dealing with kitchen fires BEFORE you actually need to.
Invest in a Fire Extinguisher
If a fire does occur, a fire extinguisher is your best bet at putting it out. It's usually a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher in every room with a significant fire risk. Also, make sure everyone in the house knows the proper way to handle and use a fire extinguisher.
For more tips on fire prevention, visit www.firepreventionweek.org