10 Fire-Safety Tips that Can Save Lives
Avoiding accidental fires in your home isn’t difficult. The key is preparedness, which includes knowing what to do in the event of a fire and engaging in safe practices every day. Here are 10 fire-safety tips from chimney professionals that can save lives.
1. Extinguish all fires before leaving the house
This includes fires on the stove or in the oven as well as in fireplaces and heating stoves.
2. Turn off electrical heating appliances before leaving the house
Space heaters cause many fires every year. If you’re in the house when a fire starts, you can deal with it. If you’re out of the house, you can’t.
3. Don’t smoke in bed
Many annual deaths and house fires are caused by falling asleep with a lit cigarette.
4. Install and maintain smoke detectors
Smoke alarms should be tested periodically, and it’s a good practice to add fresh batteries once a year, whether or not you think the devices need them. Place the alarms throughout the home, high on walls or the ceiling because smoke rises.
5. Fire extinguishers
Keep them in easy-to-access places, and make sure all older children and adults in your home know how to use them in case of emergency.
6. Devise an escape plan
It’s smart to have a written plan for what everyone in the house will do should a fire break out (particularly at night when people are asleep). Parts of this plan might include:
- How to evaluate whether or not it’s a fire you can put out with a fire extinguisher – if it’s not, leave the house quickly
- Based on the location of the fire, mark out the route people will take to exit the house in the fastest, safest manner
- If your home has two or more floors, determine how people upstairs can exit through windows (there are ladder devices for this)
- Know the location of jewelry, money, paperwork, sentimental items and other valuables so they can be retrieved quickly, if safe to do so
7. Have your fireplace and chimney inspected once a year
Faulty fireplaces and chimneys can cause house fires. Hire a licensed chimney inspector to look over your entire system once a year and perform any needed repairs.
8. Have your chimney cleaned once a year
Accumulated creosote in chimney flues is the #1 cause of chimney fires in the U.S. each year. Creosote forms when smoke condenses in the flue. It should be removed by a professional with the right equipment and training.
9. Don’t use accelerants in your fireplace
Charcoal starter, lighter fluid, kerosene and other accelerants are not intended for use in a fireplace. They can explode, and they burn way too hot. Use only seasoned, dry, natural wood logs for your fireplace, wood stove, or fire pit.
10. Safeguard the hearth area
A fireplace screen or glass doors (if appropriate for your fireplace) will prevent leaping embers and sparks from getting onto rugs and nearby furniture. These devices also will help to protect young children and pets from getting too close to the flames.
By following these and other commonsense fire-safety guidelines, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re doing all you can to keep your home and family safe.
Above & Beyond Chimney Service of Dedham, MA, works year-round to ensure that chimneys throughout the North Shore are safe and efficient. We provide CSIA-certified chimney sweeping, chimney repairs and chimney inspections. Get your questions answered or arrange an appointment by calling (781) 383-0415.