Few things can be as devastating to a homeowner than a house fire. One misplaced candle, too much lint in the dryer trap, or forgetting the oven just one unlucky time can mean the loss of everything. Possessions aren’t the only things in danger, either. House fires account for the death of nearly 4,000 people each year. This tragic loss of life and property can be prevented by following these fire prevention tips.
1. Check outlets and wiring
Overloaded or faulty outlets and wiring can be a huge fire hazard for any homeowner, but this especially true for any older homes—early 1970s and older. Older wiring and outlets can’t handle large loads compared to their modern counterparts. In the same token, avoid using old or worn-out power strips and extension cords. It is also important to not daisy chain power strips, which means plugging multiple strips/cords together. Old, faulty, or overloaded power strips may start to heat up and cause scorching and melting to occur; this may result in shorts and exposed wires. Furthermore, make sure that any outlets, power strips, or other wiring is clear of clutter and flammable materials.
2. Turn off devices
Never forget to turn off any devices that heat up, like a curling iron, stove, or electric heater. These devices can get excessively hot when left on for long periods of time, and can easily set nearby objects on fire. It can be scary how easy it is to forget to turn them off, and how often they do get left on. One trick to make this easier is to get smart devices, or connect them to smart outlets or power cords that can be turned off from your phone or a voice assistant.
3. Blow out candles
Candles can be a huge fire hazard if left unwatched, or if nobody extinguishes them. If the wick pops and sends a spark onto the tissue box next to it, a fire could easily start. The same is true if anything falls or gets blown on top of the candle, such as papers or curtains. If a candle is left to burn too long and the wax gets too low, the glass could actually shatter, which acts like hot shrapnel that easily sets carpets and curtains on fire. Lastly, make sure that the candle isn’t placed next to any clutter or flammable materials.
4. Clean out lint traps
Lint is highly flammable, and all to easy to forget about. When lint builds up in a dryer, it can act like kindling for a fire. The clothing fluff gets heated by the dryer to the point that it sets on fire, which can then spread easily to the clothing and the rest of the house. Take the time to clean the lint trap every time you do laundry, and easily avoid a fire.
5. Use smoke detectors
Most fatalities from a house fire happen when people are sleeping, and smoke detectors are the best way to prevent this. They not only alert people to the presence of a fire, but can also wake people up in the event of a fire. Smoke detectors do more than save lives, they can prevent fires in the first place. All it takes is some smoke to set one off, so people can quickly find the source and potentially prevent some smoke or a small fire from turning into an all-out house fire.