New Year Fire Safety

The New Year is often a time for reflection and resolutions.  Did you make New Year’s Resolutions that will benefit you and your family?  Often times, our resolutions call for diet and exercise, but sometimes, we forget about the well-being and safety of our homes and establishments.  Here are some things to consider when assessing the risk of fire in your home or business.

Test your Fire Alarms.  It’s the start of a new year and also a good time to ensure your fire alarms and smoke detectors are working properly.  We recommend that you check your system regularly to ensure that everything is fully operational.  And while you can take steps to reduce fire hazards, there is little that can be done to predict and prevent a wiring malfunction that could lead to a structure fire.  It is recommended that you install a smoke alarm on every floor of your home or office.  It is also important that you install a smoke alarm outside every sleeping area.  A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the stove. Be sure to test your smoke alarms at least twice annually, or even monthly if you choose to do so.  Smoke alarms are intended to be replaced every ten years. You should change your batteries every six months to ensure proper functioning.

Winter is the perfect time for fires in your fireplaces, indoors or outdoors. Fireplaces should not be used as furnaces. Use a fireplace for a short-duration fire — no longer than five hours. Keep a nonflammable rug in front of the fireplace so that sparks won’t melt or otherwise damage your flooring. Use fireplace tools to handle burning logs to prevent burns.   Your outdoor fire pits should be placed away from anything flammable, including wood piles and vehicles. Keep fires located at least 10 to 20 feet away from surrounding plants, as well as from nearby buildings, including your home.  If your fire pit has a screen, use it whenever you’re burning. It’s also a good idea to have a bucket of sand or garden hose handy to deal with wayward sparks from wood fires. When you’re done enjoying your fire, extinguish it properly. Most manufactured fire pits offer specific instructions for smothering a fire. Review the instructions before it’s time to put out your fire, as water can crack ceramic fire pits and some metal ones.  Never leave your fire place, indoor or outdoor, unattended.  Make sure your kids and pets are at a safe distance away from the fire.

Update your fire risk assessment.  One of the most vital responsibilities of an employer and homeowner is to ensure that the property has had a full fire risk analysis carried out.  It is also a good idea to hire a professional to check over your premises thoroughly to guarantee full fire safety compliance.  Parents must take extra precautions to reduce fire risk in the home, including installing fire safety equipment and preparing comprehensive safety evacuation plans to ensure children escape safely.  It is a sad fact that among the thousands of children killed or injured in home fires each year, more than 40 percent are under five years of age.

Fire safety provisioning goes hand in hand with knowing the hazards pertaining to fire that are bound to impact your home or businesses.  As you start thinking about your goals and resolutions for the New Year, the protection of your property should certainly be considered.  Peace of mind is a choice, and with proper preparation, you can rest easily knowing you have done your part to keep your home or business safe.