Once a year we think about fires. Perhaps we remember Smokey the Bear telling us on TV that only we can prevent forest fires. Or we might remember the commercial with the moving matchstick joining with other sticks to tell us to be careful with matches.
Regardless of what brings memories, it’s essential we take heed to the dangers of fire. October 9 marks Fire Prevention Day, part of the week of thinking about fire prevention.
Below is a list of six potential fire hazards lurking in our own homes.
(Adapted from “Hidden Fire Hazards at Home,” Bill Keith, Bottom Line Personal. Aug. 15, 2007)
- Electrical systems
Homes built before 1960 might still have fuse boxes with screw-in fuses, rather than modern circuit breakers. Too much power on each fuse could cause a fire. If your home was built after the ‘60s, the wiring might be aluminum, which is also a fire hazard. Have a qualified electrician check your electrical system.
- Power cords
Frayed extension cords are dangerous. Also hazardous is to plug in several cords to a single outlet. Choose to use a power strip.
- Crock pots and electric space heaters
Check the cords on these devices. If the cord is warm after 15 minutes of use, the appliance is not safe to use.
Clogged dryer exhaust hoses can cause fires. Annually remove the hose from the back of the dryer and use your arm to gently clear out any accumulated lint. Also check the dryer itself for built-up lint.
Clean your grill thoroughly at least once a season. Be sure not to use the grill next to the house and make sure the ground is clean from debris and leaves that might catch fire from a spark.
Leave the cleaning to a professional. At least every two years, have the chimney cleaned and inspected for any build-up of carbon monoxide. If your furnace vents through a steel pipe rather than through your chimney, have the top of this pipe inspected for animal nests before you start the furnace for the first time each fall.
The last person in the Wichita area to die from a house fire was 9-year old Jaden Nunn last November. It was said the house in which he, his mother, and his brother lived didn’t have a working smoke detector.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), working smoke alarms are the key to saving lives from fire. Fire can grow and spread through a home in a matter of minutes. The advance warning provided by smoke alarms can be essential to saving lives.
In September 2014, the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) implemented a statewide residential smoke alarm installation program as a fire prevention effort. Trained volunteers install alarms in owner-occupied homes free of charge.
To be eligible, you must live in Kansas and show proof of residency. You must also be a homeowner and living in that home. Contact your local fire department for your free smoke alarm.
If you suspect your house has electrical problems, call us at1-866-684-0900 for an electrician from our list of preferred vendors in your area.
Photo Credit: KYMA.com