Spring is almost here! The weather is getting nicer and the days are getting longer. It’s time to put our shovels and snow blowers in the garage and take out our bikes.
It’s also time for spring cleaning. While you’re giving your home a good cleanse/ purge, don’t forget to add in a few quick tasks that can ensure your home is free of any potential fire threats.
We promise that it won’t take you very long. All you have to do is…
1. Check Your Fire and CO2 Alarms
Fire safety always starts here. These alarms are the most important fire safety equipment in any house, condo, or business. So, let’s make sure they’re in perfect working order.
Be sure to check all fire alarms and CO2 alarms in your home, and replace the batteries. Remember, most alarms have an expiration date.
You should be doing this monthly. If you haven’t been doing it quite that often, now is a great time to build that habit.
2. Check Your Extension Cords and Outlets
Electrical failure/damage issues were the second leading cause of electrical home fires from 2015–2019, and they made up about 13% of home structure fires.
Do a visual check of all of your home’s extension cords and electrical outlets. Look for any aged or fraying wires, or any loose outlets.
If you’re in an older home, it may be a good idea to have a professional come in to fix any old, loose, or damaged outlets, or light switches/fixtures.
3. Clean Your Dryer’s Lint Trap, Vents, and Pipes
Dryer lint is incredibly flammable. There is a reason that a lot of camping YouTube channels will tell you to save your lint and use it for campfire starters.
Failure to clean the lint is the leading cause of home dryer fires and it accounts for 34% of those fires.
Clean your lint trap as often as possible – after every load, if you can. At the same time, don’t forget to clear the back of the dryer where lint can build up. You will also want to clean your lint filter with a nylon brush every 6 months and clean out your vent pipe every three months.
Declutter Your Doorways and Garage
Clutter is the enemy of safety.
We know it can be a challenge to keep your doorways clear this time of year, with winter boots still being used as often as spring/summer shoes. But do your best to keep your entrances clear.
This is also the time of year when people clean out their garage. Removing the clutter and unneeded items in the garage is good for the soul, and even better for fire safety.
Be sure to stay very mindful of where you store your paints, solvents, fuels, oils, and other combustible materials. Also never store these items under the stairs inside your home.
Bring Out the BBQ
It’s also grilling season!
As always, be sure to put your BBQ in a safe area and not in close contact with any exterior walls or siding, while also avoiding any overhangs.
You can also perform a quick soap test to ensure there are no leaks. You should perform this test at least once a month, or any time you notice a gas smell or decreased performance.
- Mix 50% water and 50% liquid soap
- Open the lid
- Ensure all control knobs are OFF
- Open the valve on your propane/natural gas cylinder, give it 1 turn
- Apply the soap water mixture onto:
- Your cylinder welds, hand wheel, and connections
- Regulator and cylinder connection
- All hoses (either propane or natural gas) and connections between the manifold, side burner and cylinder
- Check for bubbles. If there are bubbles present, you have a leak. Replace that part or take other corrective actions
Remember Cooking Safety
Now that COVID restrictions have been relaxed, you might be having your first big Easter family dinner in a while. Or, you may simply start having more backyard BBQs.
With more people and distractions in the house, you still want to remain as present and attentive as possible. Unattended cooking remains the number one cause of residential fires and accounts for nearly half of all fires in the home.
Also, don’t forget to:
- Keep the number of people in the cooking area to a bare minimum, and do your best to keep children away
- Keep all towels, clothes, and utensils away from the burners
- Ensure you have a functional (in the green) fire extinguisher, and ensure you know how to use it. Also, check the labels for an expiration/ maintenance dates.
And again, stay present and stay safe!
Review Your Fire Safety Plan
If you live in a condo, you were most likely given a bundle of materials that clearly outline your role in keeping your space safe, while also mapping out the building’s emergency evacuation plans. Read these materials again to make sure you know all the key points.
If you live in a house, be sure that everyone in the family knows what to do in the case of an emergency, and how to make sure all family members and pets are safe.
As you can see, it doesn’t take much to do this quick home check. Add a few quick extra steps to your normal cleaning routine and you can ensure your family is safe for the rest of the season.