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10 Ways to Reduce the Risk of House Fires


Reduce the risk of house fires

Peg Schroeder

I grew up in Colorado skiing, hiking, running and being heavily involved with children in Jefferson County while my kids were in school...

I grew up in Colorado skiing, hiking, running and being heavily involved with children in Jefferson County while my kids were in school...

Feb 21 5 minutes read

House fires take the lives and homes of too many people. Read on to learn how to prevent house fires.

Your home is a place where you make memories and build your life. That’s why it is scary to imagine your home ever suffering from a disaster such as a fire.

Although you can’t control everything, there are some steps you can take to help reduce the risk of fire and smoke damage. Not sure where to begin, or what items in your home pose a threat?

Here are 10 ways to reduce the risk of house fires:

1. Test Your Smoke Alarms Regularly

The easiest way to avoid a house fire is by checking your smoke alarms regularly. There is a little button on it that you can press to test it. If it beeps weakly, then you need to change the batteries ASAP. 

If a fire breaks out and it’s not working, tragedy can quickly occur as no one is alerted to evacuate.

2. Inspect All Your Heating Sources

If your heating sources aren’t working properly they could trigger a fire to happen. You should have them checked out annually by a professional. 

Make sure your air filters are always cleaned out, and if you’re using a space heater – it needs to be positioned away from anything flammable. A fire can easily start from debris and dust being too close to a heat source so make sure you clean them regularly. 

3. Keep Your Stove and Oven Clean

Don’t worry, the stove didn’t randomly combust because of your cooking. It most likely happened because forgotten food particles on the burner got too hot. Food particles aren’t the only thing that could cause this to happen. 

If your curtains hang a little too close to the stove, they can catch fire. If you leave a dish towel or cookbook on a burner that you forgot was still hot, they can catch fire. 

4. Don’t Leave Your Kitchen

A few seconds is all it takes for a fire to break out. This is why you never want to leave cooking food unattended. If you have to leave the kitchen for any reason, turn off that pot of boiling noodles first. 

If for whatever reason you can’t turn off the oven, call someone into the kitchen to watch the food until you get back. 

5. Always Check Your Dryer

Depending on what type of dryer you have, they need to be inspected on a yearly basis. We all get in a hurry when we’re doing our chores but, don’t forget to clean out your lint trap every time you put in a new load of laundry.  

You also want to check behind the machine to make sure lint or little clothing items like socks didn’t manage to get back there. 

6. Maintain All Cords

Before you plug something in, make sure that the cord hasn’t been frayed or chewed. If you do notice damaged wires, replace them as soon as possible because this is a huge fire hazard. 

Also, check your cord placement. They tend to get hot so you want to avoid running them under a rug or between your wall and furniture. 

7. Properly Store Flammable Products

Household cleaners and common cosmetic items like hairspray and shaving cream can be hazardous. If they are exposed to a large heat source, they can combust. You want to keep them away from space heaters, and store them safely in a cool area.

8. Practice Caution with Candles

Everyone loves scented candles, especially around the holidays – but if you don’t use them carefully, they could cause a fire. Make sure you put them out before you exit a room and keep them far away from blankets or other objects. 

If you feel yourself drifting off to sleep, get up and blow the candle out. Never put them on an uneven surface like carpet, because it’s too easy for them to tip over. If you have pets, make sure lit candles stay out of their reach. 

9. Be Careful with Your Fireplace

You don’t want any stray sparks to escape so you need to make sure you have a door between the flames and your flooring. It goes without saying, but never leave the room when the fireplace is going. 

When you throw the ashes away, make sure you’ve given them more than enough time to cool down. Dispose of them in a metal container that is designated just for the ashes. 

10. Keep Fire Extinguishers Around

Fire extinguishers are your best defense weapon when a fire breaks out. You want to make sure you have one in every room that is a potential threat, such as the kitchen. 

Every family member should know how to use an extinguisher so if a fire does happen, it can be put out as fast as possible. 

Only You Can Help Prevent House Fires

There is nothing more devastating than losing everything you own to house fires. Your home is like a member of your family. It’s where you make your most precious memories, so you owe it to yourself to protect it.

~Jim Reynolds, BMS Cat

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