Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Top Ten Ways to Fireproof the Home

A guest post by Brian Jones

As we're coming up on the summer months here, proper fire safety in our homes becomes more important with every passing day. We know you want your home to be a place of safety for your families, and we want to help by sharing some of our important tips for fire-proofing your home.

1. Stay in the kitchen whenever you have the stove or oven on. Even if it's just going to be a few minutes in another room, that few minutes could be more than enough time for your curious 5-year-old to accidentally drop something on the burner or set a hand towel on fire.

2. Unfortunately, there are some circumstances that require you to step away for a minute. Maybe you’re preparing a feast or slow-cooking a bird. In these rare situations, be sure that you leave behind someone old enough to know where the heavy lids and baking soda are stored — to smother grease fires and help put out most other kitchen fires.

3. Believe it or not, there are some home security systems that can protect your home from more than just burglary. In this case, we’re talking fires, and there are tons of sites out there with home security information on that sort of thing.

4. Watch how many plugs you keep in your power strips. You don't want to have overloaded outlets slowly heating up underneath a pile of cords — it's just asking for a little spark of disaster.

5. Be very careful about using portable heaters. It's easy to forget that these appliances can cause fires if you leave fabric or other flammable materials sitting nearby. Try to keep your heaters in open areas where nothing will hinder their air flow.

6. Don't ignore your smoke detectors when they give you that annoying little beep every hour or so reminding you to change their batteries. In fact, it's a great idea to go ahead and press the "test" button on all of your smoke detectors in the house monthly. Taking 10 minutes a month to test them and change batteries is more than worth the effort if it means potentially saving someone's life.

7. Remember that children love to explore new things — including matches, lighters and sparklers. Be sure to keep these flammable and exciting items some place where kids can't reach. If you are worried, check in your kids' hiding places for burnt matches to double-check that they haven't been experimenting on their own.  It’s been known to happen and while a healthy understanding of fire early in life can be important, it should always be supervised for obvious reasons.

8. If you keep firewood, store it at least 30 feet away from your house walls to prevent potential fire dangers outside from entering your home. Many barn fires are started from bales of hay sitting too close to the barn and heating up too fast. The same principle applies to any building.

9. In case of a power outage or other emergency, flashlights are always the best option for a light source. Candles and lighters can be dangerous, especially in cases where there might be other hazards such as gas leaks.

10. Many household items are also hazardous and contain potentially dangerous materials. It's wise to store highly flammable materials — paint cans, gasoline, propane, etc. — away from the home. Be sure and observe proper disposal procedure for these items, as well.

We hope these quick tips can help you feel a little safer this summer and we wish you and your families all the best! Thanks for keeping our homes and communities safe!

Not a member of Rolling Stones and not the legendary balloonist, Brian Jones has dedicated the better part of his writing career offering free advice to families and homeowners alike. Having spent a decent amount of time writing for home safety experts, he knows a thing or two about securing the home front.

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