Avoid These 6 Common Household Habits That Can Cause Fires!
While fire safety has always been a big concern among American families, it may be a bigger concern now more than ever. Here at Supreme, we call it “Life Safety 101”.
Whether it’s fire, smoke, CO or household safety, being prepared with some good basic safety precautions can help keep you and your family safe.
With the amount of technology that comes standard in the average American home, there is a big risk for fire damage and it’s important to be informed. There are easy, preventative steps to decrease the odds that your gadgets, home appliances, etc. malfunction and cause a fire. Continue reading below for house fire safety prevention tips.
Never Leave a Room With a Candle Burning
According to the National Fire Prevention Association, from 2009-2013, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 9,300 home structure fires that were started by candles. These fires caused 86 deaths, 827 injuries and $374 million in direct property damage. Candles caused three percent of all reported home fires, which are extremely preventable. Candles smell great, look nice and can be comforting, all one has to do is monitor the flame and blow out the candle when leaving the room. Fire is largely unpredictable and the slightest change in environment can result in devastation. When lighting candles, just be sure to monitor them properly. Avoid the use of candles in children’s bedrooms and keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that is flammable. Also, flame-less candles are becoming more and more popular and accessible; they smell great, look good and reduce the risk of fire dramatically.
Don’t Crowd Appliances in the House
Generally speaking, it’s never a good idea to plug a major appliance into anything other than a wall outlet. Crowding electric appliances together [in a power strip?] in a tight area isn’t smart because most products weren’t designed to operate like that. According to ConsumerReports, more than 15 million appliance units have been recalled in the past decade for defects that could cause a fire. It’s important not to overlook a large number like that. When using appliances in the house, use logic and follow the instructions that came with the product. ConsumerReports recommends regularly checking for recalls and installing fire-prevention equipment in the home.
Don’t Ignore Damaged Power Cords
We’ve all seen power cords from appliances break down and deteriorate after years of use, and while it may seem harmless, there are some real dangers that come along with that. From vacuum cleaners, to laptops, to power tools, power cords tend to take a beating. Often, the damage occurs around the plug. According to The U.S. Office of Compliance, damaged power cords pose serious hazards to users of the appliance including electrical shock and risk of fire. Power cords are typically made up of three main layers. The innermost layer is composed of two copper wires used to carry an electrical current to the appliance. Then, there is an insulation layer that covers the wiring for safety. And finally, the outer layer is made of rubber that is molded around the wires for further protection. If any of these layers become compromised, there is a tangible risk of fire damage. Take any appliances with damaged power cords to a local repair shop to reduce your risk of a house fire.
Don’t Misuse Extension Cords
The use of unapproved extension cords is a violation of both OSHA and National Fire Protection Association Codes. According to the Office of Compliance Safety and Health, extension cords should not be used as permanent wiring. One should also refrain from overloading the power capabilities of the cord, combining extensions cords together and using an extension cord to connect one surge protector or power strip to another. Basically, extension cords are only intended for temporary use and should never be relied upon in a permanent capacity.
Don’t Put Off Cleaning the Chimney
It’s always nice to have a fire going in the fireplace, but a moment of warmth and relaxation can quickly turn into panic and tragedy without the proper chimney upkeep. The Chimney Safety Institute of America provides us with a helpful list of signs that a chimney may be in need of cleaning. If you notice a discolored or cracked rain cap, a heat damaged antenna on top of the house, roofing missing around the chimney, or cracks in the exterior of the chimney, you might be in need for a chimney sweep or repair. Soot and creosote buildup inside of the chimney and can create a backup leading to unhealthy carbon monoxide levels or even a house fire. If you are a frequent user of a fireplace, get it cleaned before every winter.
Don’t Ignore the Lint in the Dryer
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 15,000 fires are sparked every year by clothes dryers. This is another example of a problem that’s easy to prevent, but potentially deadly if ignored. As a parent, it’s important to teach kids to clean out the lint in the dryer after every load of laundry. If ignored for days on end, the lint in the dryer can impede the air flow in the dryer and result in fire. If you’re noticing that clothing doesn’t dry completely after a normal session even when cleaning lint out, you may even want to check the dryer vent for blockage as well.
These practical tips can be used to prevent house fires. As ConsumerReport recommended, it’s smart to equip a home with fire and smoke prevention on top of utilizing all of these tips. There’s no problem with enjoying home appliances and new technologies, one just must always remember to follow the instructions that come with the product.