If your home’s security system includes smoke and heat alarm sensors, you’ve taken a giant step toward protecting your family night and day. But, realistically, a home fire is a fear-filled and emotionally disturbing disaster that no one ever totally recovers from psychologically. Your best defense against fire in your home is knowing where the common danger spots are – and constant vigilance.
Left unchecked, a fire can double in size every 30 seconds. A wastebasket fire can consume a room in five minutes. The good news is that most fires can be prevented with common sense and simple safeguards.
The Kitchen . . . This is danger zone Number One according to experts. One-third of all home fires start in the kitchen. Keep butter and shortening away from hot burners and open flames. Don’t use cleaning solutions or sprays near hot burners. Don’t leave the kitchen while there is food cooking on the stove top – it represents not only a fire hazard, but also a severe burn hazard to curious youngsters.
Heating Systems . . . Have your furnace system and chimney inspected every season and cleaned as needed. If you have a fireplace, burn only seasoned hardwood, never paper, trash, or softwoods (such as pine) that can quickly build up a layer of combustible creosote on the chimney walls. When supplementing heat with a space heater, always remember to keep it at least three feet away from anything combustible and make certain that it can’t be knocked over.
Electrical Safety . . . Most electrical fires are caused by overloaded circuits or the misuse of wiring. Avoid using multi-plugs or power blocks to make certain that you don’t overload circuits. Use few extension cords and don’t run them under rugs or furniture. Don’t coil a long cord. Coils create an electrical resistance that generates heat.
Other general precautions include providing enough clearance around appliances for proper cooling, unplugging appliances that are not in use, and exercising caution when using appliances or power tools around water. Fire safety is not difficult to achieve, but it does require some periodic inspection to make certain that all of the safety rules are being observed.