Your home is your sanctuary, so it’s only natural to want to protect and preserve your dwelling from harm or damage from a fire. By following smart safety practices you can help prevent a fire from happening in your home. In recognition of Fire Prevention Month, the pros at Cormack Construction list key fire safety tips to protect your home and family. 

1. Invest in fire extinguishers.

Place a fire extinguisher in an accessible spot on every floor, especially in high-risk areas, such as your kitchen, garage and near a fireplace or woodburning stove. They should have an ABC rating, making them usable for all types of fires.

2. Test smoke alarms monthly.

Be sure smoke alarms are on every level of your home, including inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends you change the batteries during daylight saving time and test smoke detectors monthly to make sure they’re still working. To prevent false alarms, keep your detectors clean and free of cobwebs and dust. Replace alarms every 10 years. 

3. Keep area around furnace free of clutter and clear of debris.

Clean the area around your furnace by vacuuming dirt, dust, and debris and keep the space around the unit free of clutter. Never store combustible materials near your gas stove or water heater. This is especially important with solvents, such as paints and paint thinners.

4. Schedule chimney cleanings and inspections.

Fireplaces and wood stoves present a significant fire risk if not maintained correctly. To operate your fireplace and wood stove safely and reduce the risk of a house fire, have your chimneys, fireplaces, wood stoves and central furnace professionally cleaned and inspected once a year.  

5. Practice open fire safety.

Never leave an unattended fire burning in a fireplace or wood stove, and never leave children or pets in the room alone with a burning fire. Keep flammable items at least 3 feet away from your fireplace or wood stove. Invest in a fireplace screen to help keep burning embers from popping into the room. 

6. Check the condition of your power cords.

One spark off an exposed wire from frayed or chewed cord is all it takes for a fire to start. Replace damaged wires as soon as you notice them. Because cords can get hot, do not run them under rugs or carpets.

7. Follow outlet etiquette.

Only plug one heat-producing appliance, such as a coffee maker, toaster, into an outlet at a time. Plug heavy-load appliances  such as refrigerators, dryers, washers, stoves, and microwaves directly into a wall outlet. Extension cords and power strips should not be used with these appliances as they can overheat and ignite when used for extended periods.

8. Replace old electrical outlets.

If you notice warmth, loose connections or hear popping or buzzing sounds coming from your electrical outlets, have them replaced by a licensed electrician. 

9. Check your dryer’s air flow.

Clogged vents or a filter buildup can obstruct air flow and cause a fire. Always check if your lint trap is clean before putting in a new load of laundry. Lint and small clothing items, like socks, can also get stuck at the back of the machine. So be sure to look for those and remove them prior to operating your dryer.

10. Pay attention when cooking.

Even if it’s just a pot of boiling noodles, never leave your cooking unattended. Keep distractions away and focus on what you’re preparing. If you really need to leave the kitchen for some reason, the safest way is to turn off the stove and stop cooking.

Home Remodeling and Construction in NH's White Mountains and Lakes Region, and Western Maine

For over 40 years, Cormack Construction has served the home remodeling and construction needs of homeowners in New Hampshire’s White Mountains and Lakes Region, and Western Maine. Starting a new project? We can help! Contact us for a complimentary consultation.

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