Fall has finally arrived! This *usually* means warm sweaters, the leaves changing colors and football activities with our friends and family. With all the fun that comes with the weather getting cooler, there are also fire hazards that accompany the change of seasons. Heating systems, bonfires and excess leaves can all potentially lead to catastrophic fire damage. You and your family can easily stay warm and prevent costly fire damages this fall season by practicing our safety tips.
Heating System Safety TipsNow that cooler weather is upon us, our heating systems will soon be up and running after many months of being turned off. Whether you use a central heating system or space heater to warm your home, it is important to check to be sure they are in working order before turning them on. Heating systems pose as a major fire threat to your homes if they malfunction. According to the U.S Fire Administration, heating systems cause 10% of residential fires. Follow these heating tips to prevent house fires:
- Have your central heating system cleaned and inspected by a certified HVAC contractor before turning it on
- Be sure to have carbon monoxide detectors fully functioning if your home is heated by a gas heater
- Never leave a space heater running while you are sleeping or away from home
- Keep spaces heaters 3 feet away from furniture and other items, including clothes, curtains, and blankets
Bonfires and Outdoor GrillingCooler weather usually means snuggling up by the campfire and hosting cookouts. Open fires and gas grills are staples for fall activities, but they also pose as fire threats. Be sure to practice the following safety tips when celebrating with an outdoor fire or grilling in the backyard. Grilling Safety Tips
- Be sure to always keep your grill clean of access grease. Clean your grill regularly after it is completely cooled to prevent buildup of fat and grease.
- Never leave your grill unattended
- Keep the grill at least 10 feet away from any structures, including your home, deck, garage, or shed
- Be sure to only grill outdoors
- Keep children and pets away from the grill (even when it’s not on, this is a good habit to practice)
- If you smell gas while cooking, immediately turn off the grill, back away and contact the fire department
- If you are using a charcoal grill, be sure to let the charcoals completely cool before disposing them
- Never leave the bonfire unattended
- Keep a bucket of water or hose ready
- Know that throwing damp materials into the fire will lead to excessive smoke
- Find a way to keep the fire contained
- Do not burn aerosols, tires, canisters or anything containing foam or paint. These products have serious toxins and chemicals that can cause the fire to explode and will produce dangerous chemicals in the air
- After the fire has calmed down, always spray with embers with water to to prevent it from reigniting.
Excess Leaves and DebrisMany people do not consider beautiful fall leaves as a fire threat. However, as the leaves fall into your yard and gutters, this dry material is extremely flammable and will leave your home vulnerable. In order to prevent fire damage to your home, be on the lookout for the excess debris.
- Do not park your car over a pile a leaves. The heat from your car’s engine or exhaust system can ignite the dry material below.
- Clean your gutters regularly of excess leaves, sticks, dirt, and other debris. These natural materials can easily combust if exposed to an ember (from a bonfire or outdoor grill). This will also help prevent water damage!