Spring-Time Fire Safety

Spring time, the perfect season for watching beautiful sunsets on your porch, sitting outside with friends around a bonfire, lighting up the grill, and of course, spring cleaning.  As you enjoy the fresh air and outdoor activities, there are a few tips to keep in mind to protect your home from fires.

When you set your clocks forward, it means “Spring Time” is upon us.  It also means that it is time to change your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. You should ensure smoke alarms are installed inside every bedroom and on every level of your home, including the basement. It is also a good time to check the date on your fire extinguisher and make sure it’s in the proper placement for the type of fire extinguisher that you have.  You should develop and practice a home fire escape plan to ensure everyone knows what to do if the smoke alarm sounds.

Lighting up the barbeque grill is great for when the weather is warm.  These grills must only be used outdoors. Using grills indoors or in enclosed spaces is not only a fire hazard, but it exposes occupants to toxic gases and potential asphyxiation.  You should always use long handled grilling utensils and heat resistant oven mitts to avoid exposure burns from heat and flames.  It is important to keep your grill clean by periodically removing grease build-up in catch trays to prevent it from igniting.  Keep a garden hose nearby in case of fire, and never leave a lit grill unattended.

A campfire is warm and welcome on a nice, cool evening.  But all it takes is a spark for things to go wrong.  When building a campfire, watch the wind direction to ensure sparks aren’t getting near any flammable materials.  Make sure campfires are well away from tents, trailers, dry grass and leaves, porches, or anything combustible. Stack extra wood away from the campfire so that the sparks from the fire cannot ignite your wood pile. Fire pits are the best place to build fires, but if one is not available, bare rock or sand is the next best option.  Camp fires should be kept small and manageable.  You should never pour lighter fluid on an open flame.

Spring cleaning, it is not always fun, but makes you feel accomplished when completed.  When tidying up around your home, check for frayed or damaged appliance cords, wiring, fuses, or breakers.  They will need to be replaced.   Check also for water leaks, especially near electrical appliances.  You should make sure household chemicals are properly stored and that cleaning agents are never mixed.  Check all of your windows to ensure they open and close properly.  You never know when you will need to use a window as an exit in an emergency.  Get rid of old newspapers, magazines, and junk mail.  These items will contribute to the spread of fire.  Filters should be checked above the stove, as well as your dryer lint filter.  Make sure the area around your dryer is clear of things that can burn, like boxes and cleaning supplies.  Clear out areas of clutter around your stairs and exit routes.  Keep anything that can catch fire, oven mitts, wooden utensils, towels, and even curtains away from your stovetop.

It is also important to maintain tidiness around the outside of your home as well.   Vegetation should be cut to a minimum and at least 20 feet from your home.   Remove leaves and trash from carports and garages.  Check fuel containers for leaks and make sure they are properly stored.  They should be kept in a cool, dry place and away from children’s reach.  Paints and yard chemicals should be kept in a secure area as well.

When it comes to house fires, prevention is a key component.  Seasonal safety checks are always a good practice to prevent fires.  It ensures you and your family’s well-being, as well as the security of your home. As most fires are preventable, it is important to create a safe environment for the ones you love. By following fire safety measures, you will ensure a safe and happy spring for everyone.