October Home Improvement Tips for Fire Prevention
By Your Trusted Home Inspector Annapolis MD
Is your home fireproof?
October is National Fire Safety Month. Each year, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) brings about a campaign that reminds all US homeowners and citizens of the importance of fire safety awareness in our homes and the workplace.
According to 2015-2019 statistics, over 377,000 damaged residential properties or occupancies have been reported due to fires. These fire incidents have led to more than 2,700 people, injuries of almost 11,600 civilians, and significant property losses. In annual averages, people in the 45-84 age groups are more vulnerable to fire risk. While fire casualty rates increase, older homeowners are driving the rising trend in home renovation.
Home repair and improvement projects can wind up being expensive, but fire safety should not be compromised, and its awareness in the home and workplace should be second nature to keep you and your loved ones safe in the event of a fire.
Take time this month to review your home safety plan. Here are some tips to improve fire safety at home.
Good housekeeping is not just cleanliness and keeping your living space in order but also includes removing flammable or combustible materials that contribute to a fire emergency. Waste materials such as cardboard, paper, wood scraps, aerosol cans, or other storages of chemical substances can easily become sources of fuel in the event of a fire, allowing it to spread quickly.
It is also best to keep your exit routes clear of obstructions. Firefighters say that excessive storage can be a risk for fire hazards. Clutter can limit your access to emergency equipment and escape routes. Check that fire extinguishers and fire blankets are in place and within reach. If fire emergency exit doors are locked, everyone in your family should know where the keys are kept and that access to it is clear. Selecting an exit route, making sure everyone in your family knows about it, and keeping your exit paths and emergency equipment access clear at all times can greatly help reduce the risk for injury or worse during fire hazards.
2. Check Fire and Smoke Detectors
According to the American Red Cross, you may have as little as two minutes to escape in a fire emergency in your home. Early warning and fire detection systems can mean the difference between life and death. Fitting fire and smoke detection devices at all levels of your home are essential. Do you have smoke and fire alarms installed in each bedroom, the living room, and the kitchen? How about the attic and basement? It is recommended to install smoke and fire detectors if needed to cover the whole house. Ensure all installations conform to fire codes and standards. Make sure to test them regularly, as these could save your life. A couple of fire and smoke detectors are worth the cost it takes to secure your home and your family.
3. Check the Fireplace and Chimney
October brings cooler temperatures to many parts of the country, and there’s a pretty good chance your fireplace wasn’t used much during the hot season. It may be cozy to bask in the warmth of your fireplace, but the last thing you’d want is turning that winter fire into an explosion and dense smoke. If you don’t give your fireplace and chimney some thought before lighting the first fire, your enjoyment may be very short-lived. There is much to do, including getting your fireplace and chimney checked before you even start to run a quick “burn-off” cycle.
Dirty and damaged fireplaces and chimneys can cause fires, destroy homes, and injure or kill people. It is important to have a visual assessment of the fireplace and chimney. Check chimney exterior for cracks, chips, and corrosion. Check the interior for soot and creosote buildup. Have it cleaned as necessary, and if in doubt, hire a professional.
4. Watch those Electronics
The popularity of home appliances continues to grow as electronic innovation makes our lives convenient and comfortable. However, appliances play a major role in every homeowner; electronics and electrical systems can be lethal if they are not looked after. According to 2020 National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) statistics, an average of 358,000 house fires every year are caused by faulty equipment overheating or electrical malfunction.
To help reduce the risk of an electrical fire in your home, have the wiring system checked before deciding to buy your dream home. Check the current rating tension of the electrical sockets before plugging appliances into them. Do not overload a plug socket. Overloaded sockets can lead to overheating and potential fire. Make sure your appliances are up to code and safe to use as needed. Have an electrician or a professional look at major installations to carry out measures for your safety.
5. Schedule a Fire Safety Check
A safe home, a happy family, and Peace Of Mind are predicated on your ability to keep up with home improvement tasks that can mean several fire safety measures to reduce risks of losses. Fulfilling your responsibility as a homeowner to make and keep your house hazard-free of fires is something only you have control of. Arranging a fire safety check with a professional is an invaluable tool that could end up saving your life.
Nothing creates a merrier holiday ambiance with your family basking in the fireplace glow than a house with potential fire risks. It is important always to be aware of possible fire hazards in and around your home. Following these simple tips can help prevent house fires and keep your family safe.
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