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7 Tips To Reduce Fire Danger Around Your HomeAugust 27th, 2020 by
The news is full of forest fires in the West, and as the weather continues to be hot and dry around the country the risk of fire is something every homeowner must address. From creating a defensible space around your home to inspecting your electrical systems, these simple steps will help you and your family reduce the risk of a fire and create an emergency plan in the unfortunate event of one.
1. Create a Defensible Space
A defensible space is a perimeter around your home that has reduced combustible material, which deters a wildfire or brush fire from reaching your building. Take some time to walk the perimeter of your home to inspect for natural and created materials that are combustible. Some common items to look for:
- Landscape vegetation
- Leaf piles
- Tall grass
- Overhanging branches
Hardscapes are a great way to create firebreaks around your property. A concrete wall, gravel walkway or other features makes it difficult for a fire to spread and reach your home. Combustible items, from firewood to lawn furniture, should be stored at least 30 feet away from your home.
2. Invest in Fire Retardant Materials
You can’t completely eliminate the risk of fire, a strike of lightning or sudden electrical issue could cause a spark or open flame which would affect your home. In these situations, fire retardant materials can prevent your home from catching fire.
Have a professional inspect your home for signs of fire retardant materials. Brick, concrete, certain thicknesses of gypsum board and treated plywood are common materials that protect your home from the risk of a fire.
Some of these items, like concrete, are completely non-flammable. Others, like gypsum board, may have a set fire resistance time before they are compromised. Your inspector can ensure your home is up to code with the proper non-flammable materials.
3. Check Your Fire Extinguisher and Smoke Alarms
A fire extinguisher and smoke alarms are basic home fire safety equipment. Smoke alarms should be tested once a month to ensure they are still working properly. If your smoke alarms have batteries, remember to replace them once or twice every year.
Fire extinguishers should also be inspected regularly. An extinguisher can often set for months or years without use, so you need to be sure it’s ready to perform in the event of a fire. Visually inspect your extinguisher every month to check the safety seal and look for any evidence of damage, leakage or corrosion. These items are your first line of defense in the event of a fire, so it’s critical that they are ready to perform when you need them.
4. Inspect Your Electrical System
A common cause of house fires is electrical issues. Regularly inspecting your electrical system is key to catching issues before they become a problem.
Test your electrical safety features to see if they are still working. GFCI outlets have a test feature to see if they can successfully break the circuit. If not, this is an electrical hazard that needs to be repaired. These outlets are typically installed anywhere that water and electricity could mix. Kitchen, bathroom and exterior outlets are common places to look for GFCI protection.
AFCIs are a type of breaker that protects your home from additional electrical risks. High temperatures and pinched cords are common causes of electrical fires, so ask a local electrical contractor about installing one or more of these breakers in your home.
5. Watch Out for Water Damage
Water damage is an often-overlooked source of fire risk. A leaking roof or pooled water can reach your electrical wires and outlet boxes, which affects conductivity and could cause a fire. Preventing water damage is a great way to minimize the risk of an electrical fire.
Work with a local roofing team to inspect your home for signs of leaks, ice dams or other issues. If you notice any pooled water or damp smells in your home, inspect your water lines, drain lines and appliances for signs of leaks.
6. Service Gas Appliances
When was the last time you had your gas appliances inspected? Regular servicing not only increases their lifetime but gives you insight into when to replace your appliances.
Propane and natural gas appliances have many safety systems to prevent a fire. Unfortunately, a worn-out or damaged appliance may end up with a small gas leak. This is a particularly dangerous risk in your home. A single spark or a lit burner could cause the buildup of gas to ignite in your home.
Check your carbon monoxide detectors and have a contractor inspect your appliances to reduce this risk. And of course, always be sure your stove is turned off before leaving your home.
7. Prepare an Emergency Plan
Sometimes a fire situation may be unavoidable. In the unfortunate event of a fire, you and your family need an emergency plan. Make an emergency fire plan. Post numbers for emergency services, create a first aid kit and have an escape route outlined for every bedroom. Remind your family of the emergency plan frequently to keep it fresh in their minds.
You can minimize the risk of fire in and around your home. Find an electrician, plumber or roofer in your local area to help ensure your safety with the help of Best Pick Reports. These reliable, qualified professionals can assist you in preparing your home for any emergency and reducing the risk of a fire.