Recently, there have been some tragic home fires in the news. Unfortunately, most home fires are preventable. As a realtor, I have been to quite a few home inspections where fire hazards were visible and reported to the homeowner. Often just a simple fix could make the home much safer. Here are a few simple things you can do for you and your family.
- The first and most obvious is smoke detectors. You would be surprised how many homes I have visited that do not have them. A smoke detector with working batteries should be in each bedroom and again on each level of the house. Sixty percent of fatalities occur in house fires without smoke detectors or non-functioning smoke detectors — very preventable.
- Have your fireplace professionally cleaned once a year. Creosote (soot) can build up and cause a chimney fire. A chimney fire can result in a flash of fire in your home through the fire place.
- Check cords on appliances for fraying or exposed wires.
- Clear space around space heater. No curtains, furniture, papers or bed linens nearby. Do not use space heaters unattended.
- Kitchen fires are the most common type of home fires. Many are caused by spilled grease on the stove or in the oven. Clean any grease spills and keep kitchen linens and curtains away from the stove top.
- Candles should never be left burning unattended.
- Dryer vents need to be cleaned out once a year. Lint can heat up and catch on fire. Also, the safest material for a dryer vent is rigid aluminum. Flexible plastic is banned, but still around in some older homes . Flexible plastic and flexible foil can trap lint more easily causing a build-up of lint. Another suggestion is to never leave your dryer running when you leave your home or go to sleep, dryer fires are much more common than you would think.
These are just a few suggestions to make your home much safer. Let me know if you have anything you can add to this list.