Summary of what I have learned about preventing a fire in the home

Things to look for and Avoid in Your Home
  • Electrical Cords- Make sure that electrical cords are not frayed or damaged in any way.  Do not have cords pressed between furniture and the wall as heat can build, and a fire can start.  Do not over jam outlets.  Do not run electrical cords under rugs or furniture.  Do not over-use extension cords and avoid them whenever possible.  Never use extension cords for space heaters or air conditioning units.
  • Avoid space heaters if possible-  I know this is not always possible, but if it is then omitting them in the home is best.  If you do have to use a space heater make sure they are at least three feet from anything flammable including carpet, clothing, and curtains.  Always keep space heaters on a steady, firm, fabric free surface.  Do not place heaters in walk ways or in kids’ reach.  If possible purchase a space heater that automatically shutsoff if it is tipped over.
  • Batteries-  Batteries stored loosely can cause a fire.  I was shocked to discover this and have definitely kept batteries loose in my junk drawer often.  Not anymore!  Read more on how batteries can cause a fire in the home.
  • Candles- burn candles when you are in the room and blow them out before leaving.  Keep candles out of reach of pets and kids and away from combustible materials.  Eliminating them altogether is another option and the safest.  There are so many alternatives to candles these days like flame-less candles, air fresheners, and melting wax fixtures.
  • Kids and Fire- always keep all matches, lighters, candles, and anything else flammable away from kids of all ages.  Kids are naturally curious and often mischievous.  A lot of times it is accidental, but they cause a large percentage of annual house fires in the United States.
  • Poor wiring- how can you tell you have wiring issues within your home?  Here are some things to look for: dimming of lights when an appliance is used, frequently blown fuses or tripped breakers, electrical shocks when touching appliances or plugging them in, hot ceiling fixtures, and switches or outlets that do not work.
  • Flammable materials-  avoid storing flammable liquids in the home if at all possible.  Storing them in a detached garage or shed is ideal.  Items like fuel, paint, and containers under pressure need to be stored away from heat sources and in a cool, dry place.  Make sure items are stored in appropriate containers and read all warning labels for best use and storage practices.  Read more on flammable liquid safety.
  • Christmas trees- Christmas trees cause a large percentage of house fires, but they don’t have to.  Keep real trees well watered and check the trees water level daily.  Before stringing lights onto the tree inspect the cords for rips, tears, or frays.  Do not place Christmas trees near heat sources or next to the television.  Never leave the Christmas tree lights on when you are sleeping or away from the home.  Read more about Christmas tree safely precautions here.
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