It is estimated that over 350,000 home fires will occur across the United States in 2014. For this reason, fireproofing your home is essential to protect your possessions and more importantly, your family. Listed below are a few things you can do to secure your home against possible fire hazards along with a few safeguards in the event of a home fire:
Check Around the Exterior of Your Home
Keeping the roof, gutters and immediate areas around the home free of leaves, pine needles, tree limbs and other debris can help to prevent fires that may be caused by lightning strikes or sparks from an accidental uncontrolled yard fire. Trees and shrubs should be kept at least ten feet away from the home. If any part of the home is made of wood, such as the roof or the siding, it should be sprayed with fire-retardant chemicals.
Fireproofing in the Winter
Home fires are more common in the winter months, due to the use of space heaters, wood-burning stoves and fireplaces. To minimize these fire risks, the following measures should be taken:
All space heaters should set on a flat surface when in operation and should be kept at least three feet away from all flammable objects such as curtains, rugs, furniture, etc.
It is essential to have proper floor protection and support when a wood-burning stove is in use. The flue of the stove should be inspected and cleaned (if needed) annually. Firewood should also be piled or stored away from the home, for safety reasons.
Like the flue of a wood-burning stove, the chimney of the fireplace needs to be cleaned and inspected every year to prevent dangerous buildup that can result in a fire. A metal or glass screen should always be placed in front of the fireplace opening when in use.
Install Proper Safety Equipment
One of the most inexpensive and practical ways to protect your family from a home fire is by the use of smoke detectors. The batteries in a smoke detector should be replaced at least twice a year. The efficiency of the smoke alarm batteries can and should be checked often by placing a candle under the unit to see if it is in good working order. A smoke detector should be placed outside each bedroom and in the kitchen for maximum safety benefits. Fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems are two more great ways to protect the occupants of the home in the unfortunate case of a fire. Sprinkler systems should be installed throughout the home and fire extinguishers should be placed in an easy access area of both the kitchen and garage in the event of an electrical fire. Not only are these items important for the safety of your family, but can also save you money on your house insurance. Just be sure to mention them to your agent, once these safeguards have been put into place.
Practice Good Kitchen Safety
Many home fires are caused by hot grease from cooking in the kitchen. For this reason, it is important to keep the stovetop area clean and clear of all unneeded objects. All dish rags, pot holders and other flammable objects should never be placed on top of the stovetop and all handles of pots and pans that are being used for cooking should be positioned inward.
Always Think SafetyA few other good few tips to remember are:
- Keep all kerosene, propane and coal stored in well-ventilated approved metal containers
- Never leave burning candles unattended
- Throw all frayed extension cords away
- Don’t overload circuits or place cords under rugs or carpets
- Teach all children in the home about the dangers of playing with fire
- Keep all lighters and matches out of reach
Lastly, make sure that all the occupants of the home know what to do if a fire does develop, such as crawling to the nearest exit, where to meet once outside and to never re-enter the building while the home is on fire. By following these tips on fireproofing your home and knowing what to do in the event of a fire, you can greatly help to ensure the safety of your family from this devastating event.
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David Glenn is a home improvement expert. He occasionally freelance writes about home safety, home maintenance, and DIY home repair.