Fall is one of the most beautiful and enjoyable seasons here in Texas – but it can also come with some homework. Heating your homes creates a majority of the fire hazards in and around your home. In Amarillo and Dallas, Texas, there is a large increase in the number of house fires in the fall and winter months because of this. Take a few moments to learn some fall fire safety tips and fire prevention techniques to help keep you safe this season.
Replace Smoke Alarm Batteries
A good time to look over your home is when you turn the clocks back in the fall. You should replace the batteries in all of your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Check to be sure they are working properly by testing each one in your home.
Check Fire Extinguishers
Be sure that you have at least one fire extinguisher in your home. If your home has multiple floors, it is smart to have an extinguisher on each floor. It is important that you know how to use one, remember the PASS method:
- Pull the pin
- Aim the hose at the base of the fire
- Squeeze the handle
- Sweep from side to side to extinguish the fire
Develop a Home Fire Safety Plan
Talk with your family and develop a thorough plan to ensure everyone knows what to do if your house catches fire. Everyone in your home of appropriate age needs to know where the extinguisher is kept and how to use it. This would also be the time to take a few minutes and develop a fire safety plan and an escape route for your family.
Check Your Heating System
Go ahead and turn on your heating unit before it gets cold, usually in October. This way you can make sure it works properly. Your unit has, after all, been shut off for quite a while. You don’t want to find out it is broken when you really need it. Furnaces are a major cause of house fires in the US. There are a few things you can do, however, that can reduce your risk:
- Replace furnace filters regularly
- Keep the area around the furnace clean
- Keep debris away from the burner area
- Keep any combustible items a minimum of six inches from the vent pipe
- Never close over 20% of heat registers off
Should you notice any issues with your heating system during the test run, contact a professional immediately. For preventative care, have your central heating system cleaned and serviced by a certified HVAC contractor once annually. A properly working heating system greatly reduces fire risks but also reduces utility costs as they work to heat your space more efficiently.
You should keep debris and other flammable items away from your fireplace and have it inspected annually by a professional chimney sweep before use. Be sure to do your research when hiring a contractor.
If you have a gas fireplace, make sure all lines and connections have been inspected before turning it on. A professional chimney inspection will find any issues or repairs that are needed.
There are a few things besides the annual inspections you can do to ensure the safety of your home:
- Use a fireplace screen, guard, or glass doors
- Store extra wood a minimum of five feet from your fireplace
- Make sure a fire is never left unattended
- Burn hardwoods
- Keep the fires small
- Place logs on a metal grate when building a fire
- Always use kindling to start a fire
A few more Fire Safety Tips…
- Remove leaves from around your home to eliminate fire hazards
- Learn the burning regulations and requirements for your area
- Never park your vehicle over a pile of leaves
- Always clean the dryer vent before using the dryer
You may think this is all common sense. As we get busy, however, we tend to not put safety first. Take that extra hour when the clocks roll back this fall and prepare for a fire-safe fall and winter season. However, even when careful, a home fire is a possibility. If you experience a home fire, give Mr. Restore a call. We’ll work quickly and efficiently to restore your home and the things you love.