According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there were 1,800 fatal fires and 7,000 fires that resulted in injuries in residential buildings in 2016. While these numbers are terrifying, most residential fires can be preventable if we follow basic safety tips. October is National Fire Prevention Month, so let’s use this opportunity to review some of these preventive measures for residential fires:
Fire in the Kitchen
Cooking is the main cause of residential fire injuries—in 2016, it accounted for 33,7% of the cases. Regardless of how experienced at cooking you are, an unsupervised kitchen screams “danger!”
One of the most common mistakes that people make is leaving the kitchen without turning off the stove. Even if you’ll only be absent for a short period of time—while you take a shower or answer the phone, for example—you have to turn it off. Also, make sure to keep combustible items at a safe distance from those heat sources and position barbecue grills at least 10 feet away from siding and deck railings.
As temperatures start to drop in the fall, it’s only natural that you want to use your fireplace to get cozied up at home. While fireplaces are warm and cozy, they can also be a potential danger to your family. It’s very important to clean your chimney before you light the first fire of the season to ensure it doesn’t have any blockages that would prevent smoke from escaping.
Always ensure that the fire is out before going to bed or leaving your home. Another good tip is to use a fireplace screen that is heavy enough to stop rolling logs. The U.S. Fire Administration recommends keeping anything that can burn at least three feet away from fireplaces, wood stoves, portable heaters, and radiators.
Fire Safety Checklist
You can find a fire safety checklist on the U.S. Fire Administration website. Here are some of the tips you might find useful:
- Turn heaters off or unplug them when you go to bed.
- Don’t use electrical cords that are frayed or broken.
- Install smoke alarms inside and outside your home.
- Have a home fire escape plan.
- Inspect your furnace and chimney every winter.
At Sherlock Homes Inspectors, our experienced and skilled professionals can help you mitigate fire hazards in your home. Contact us through our website or by calling (712) 274-9617 to book a home inspection.