5 Ways You Can Prevent House Fires
When it comes to fire safety, it’s always good to prepare, but it’s better to prevent. Remembering to blow out candles and give space heaters… well, space, are good places to start. But, here are five other simple ways to help you prevent house fires.
The first and most important thing you can do is make sure everyone in the household is educated on fire safety, including children. How many of us leave the kitchen with food cooking on the stove? The answer is probably most of us. It’s unsafe, and yet we do it anyway. Utilize your resources, including your local fire department, to educate your family and make small but preventative changes around the house, like turning the stove off every time you leave the room, even if it’s just for a moment to answer the door or load the washer.
The U.S. Fire Administration suggests testing smoke alarms once a month and changing their batteries twice a year. But, a lesser known detail is it’s best to replace the alarm itself every 10 years. When that time comes, consider upgrading to smart detectors. These connect to Wi-Fi and send alerts to your phone when an alarm goes off or the batteries need replaced. Upgrading to a smart device could also qualify you for the American Family Insurance “Smart Home” discount.
Keep in mind, every level of the house and every bedroom or sleeping area should have a working smoke detector.
Built up lawn clippings and dry leaves can create heat and start fires. After a hard day of yardwork, keep the debris a safe distance from the house, and dispose of it as soon as possible.
When you’re not home it’s best to keep pets, especially new, untrained pets, in a crate or a safe room where they can’t mistake electrical cords as chew toys or a bathroom. This will also prevent your little fur babies from nestling into tight spots, like the refrigerator motor.
Check Your Home
Lastly, perform regular checks around your home and keep up with maintenance. It’s easy to forget out-of-sight areas, like crawl spaces and ventilation shafts. Here are some areas to keep in mind:
- Electrical wiring may have frayed over time, or been damaged by pests. Check crawl spaces, attics and basements, and bring in a licensed professional to replace faulty wiring.
- Make sure your air conditioner and heating unit are cleaned regularly and functioning properly. Also, avoid using extension cords for air conditioners.
- Have your chimney inspected and cleaned at least once a year, and use a screen to prevent embers from flying out into the living space while in use.
- Keep your stove and oven free of built up grease, and clean the vent hood and regularly.
- Clear the lint trap of the clothes dryer after every load, and keep the outside vent clean.
Implementing these safe practices around the house is just a start, but protecting your home doesn’t stop here. An American Family agent can help you make fire prevention a regular practice.