Keeping your home fire safe is definitely a top priority for everyone, whether they are renters or homeowners. A fire can be extremely destructive and traumatic, so it is always better to prevent it when possible. Fortunately, most home fires can be prevented, if some simple steps are taken.
First of all, it is essential to have working smoke detectors on every floor, at minimum, and in every bedroom. If you are renting a home, your landlord may be liable for providing smoke detectors in good working order, but you may be responsible for replacing the batteries. This should be done twice a year to make sure that your smoke detectors are always functional. Many people recommend doing this at the same time you set your clocks forward or back, just because it’s easy to remember. Never disable your smoke detectors.
Kitchen safety and fire safety go hand in hand, as many home fires start in the kitchen. To keep your home fire safe, take extra care when you are using the stove. Curtains, dish towels, long sleeves, flowing clothing, and long hair can all easily ignite and spread quickly. Make sure nothing can accidentally touch the stove burners, and always keep an eye on what you are cooking. If you are leaving the room, even for just a moment, turn the stove off and turn it on again when you can watch what you are cooking. Many people multitask in the kitchen, with something in the oven, in the microwave, and on the stove all at once. This is often necessary to eat dinner at a reasonable time, but it is important to be fully aware of each item that you are responsible for at all times.
Heater and radiator safety is another important step in keeping your home fire safe. Flammable objects should always be kept away from heating vents, space heaters, and radiators. This includes furniture, draperies, and bedding. Give all types of heaters space so that they can heat your home without being a fire hazard. Never place a sofa or armchair over a heating vent, and keep space heaters away from draperies and other loose material.
Electrical wiring must be in good condition to keep your home fire safe. Anything that is plugged in should be checked to make sure the wires are not frayed and the insulation is intact. Avoid overusing surge protectors, keeping the ratio close to one item plugged in for each electrical outlet. In addition, if you have any concerns about the state of your home’s wiring, have a professional electrician check it out, as electrical fires can be devastating.
Candles and fireplaces need to be watched just as carefully as anything cooking on the stove. If you have any kind of flame, whether it is one candle, a roaring fireplace, or a burner heating soup bubbling on the stove, make sure someone is in the room watching it. It may seem acceptable to leave these things unattended just for a moment, but fires start and spread quickly. To keep your home fire safe, never leave fire unattended.
Less people are smoking indoors than in previous years, but if you or someone in your home smokes, cigarette safety is not to be overlooked. A carelessly dropped cigarette can ignite flammable material easily, while a match or cigarette that has not been totally extinguished may also cause a home fire. To keep your house fire safe, do not allow smoking inside, or at least require that all cigarettes and matches be completely doused in running water before they are placed in an ashtray. All of these methods can help save you the injury, property damage, and heartache that can come from a home fire.