The trees are budding and the grass is turning green. The air is warming and the days are getting longer. Spring is finally here. For many of us, our thoughts are turning towards long-neglected projects and activities. Things like spring cleaning, yard work and enjoying the outdoors. Here is a list of tips to keep your home safe from the threat of fire.
- Replace batteries in all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms at the time change. Did you remember? If an alarm “chirps”, warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
- Test them at least once a month by pushing the test button.
- Ensure smoke alarms are installed inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half.
- Clean the dryer lint filter before or after each load of laundry. Remove lint that has collected around the drum. The leading cause of home clothes dryer fires is failure to clean them.
- Keep the area around your dryer clear of things that can burn.
- Check electrical cords to make sure they are not running across doorways or under carpets. Extension cords are intended for temporary use. Extension cord fires outnumber fires beginning with permanent power cords by two-to-one.
- Keep anything that can catch fire – oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains – away from your stovetop. Most cooking fires in the home involve the stovetop.
- Have fire extinguishers in the home and know how to use them. Twice a year, when you change alarm batteries, turn your extinguishers upside down and tap on the bottom. This will mix the dry chemical agent and the pressurized air back up. Ensure that the needle is in the green, full, or charged area of the gauge.
- Check your barbecue grill for leaks and cracks, and be sure to store any propane tanks away from your house and garage. U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 7,900 home fires involving grills each year, causing 120 reported injuries and $80 million in property damage.
- Make sure your address numbers are up and visible from the street. Especially at night when it is dark. This will not only help us find your house, but your neighbors as well.
- Maintain a clear “fire zone” of 10’ around structures. Clean up leaves and debris and consider using stone or non-combustible mulches.
- Clean up and properly store paints and yard chemicals.
- Check fuel containers for leaks and make sure they are properly stored.
For more fire safety tips, visit www.nfpa.org/safetytips.
Your Salida Fire Department offers free home inspections. We will come to your home and make suggestions on ways to safeguard it with no obligation on your part. If you wish to conduct a self-inspection, we have a checklist available. We are also happy to change alarm batteries or install new alarms for you, free of charge. Give us a call at 539-2212. Remember, we not only put out fires, we do our best to prevent them before they ever get started.