Did you know it was recently Fire Prevention Week? In fact, all of October is Fire Prevention Month! And while we love that there’s a time of year dedicated to bringing awareness to these topics, we want homeowners to have helpful resources to help them all year long – not just during one month or throughout the burning season.
Fires may not seem super common, but they actually occur more than you’d think. In 2019 alone, there were over 3,700 fire-related deaths in the United States and over 16,000 fire-related injuries.
Now, in some cases, fires are simply unavoidable. Accidents happen, and even the most diligent homeowners could experience this type of disaster. That said, a large majority of house or chimney fires could have been prevented if proper precautions had been taken.
Here at Owens Chimney Service, we want to do everything possible to lower the number of fire-related incidents that occur every year. That’s why we have lots of useful tips for you to take with you as we move into the burning season. Questions? Reach out! We’d love to be there for you through it all.
Basic Prevention Tips
So, let’s talk prevention. What can you do as a home and fireplace owner to avoid fires from ever occurring in the first place? Here are some tips:
- Be careful with cords: Your electrical cords can spark fires when not properly maintained. Make sure you’re not overloading your circuits with too many plug-ins, and keep any cords safely tucked away where they won’t cause issues (i.e. not under rugs or where people could walk over or trip on them).
- Keep an eye on your appliances: When your household appliances short out, spark, or start giving off unusual smells, it’s a clear-cut indicator that they should be unplugged and not used until either repaired or replaced.
- Adhere to proper clearances: Fireplaces, portable heaters, and various other alternative heat sources all have strict clearances that should always be adhered to. Failing to do so increases the likelihood of fires significantly.
- Have your dryer vents cleaned out: Dirty dryer vents are the number one cause for dryer-related fires. Have lint professionally cleaned out annually to avoid dangerous scenarios (and to increase efficiency).
- Invest in annual chimney inspections: Annual chimney inspections are essential for avoiding fires and other potentially dangerous situations (like smoke backup or gas leaks). Hire a certified sweep to ensure you don’t have buildup or damages present before starting your burning season.
- Never leave a fire unattended: Whether you have a fire going on your stove, candles lit in your living room, flames built up in your fireplace, or your fire pit ignited outside for an evening of enjoyment, never leave a fire unattended.
- Regularly check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: These devices save countless lives every year! A simple check on the batteries twice a year is well worth the effort when it comes to the safety of your home and family. (And remember to replace them as needed, too!)
- Spread the word: The more accurate information we can spread about fire safety, the higher chances we have of preventing life-threatening accidents from occurring in the first place. Do what you can to inform others and spread awareness!
Planning for Emergencies
Now, prevention is obviously the best-case scenario, but sometimes things slip through the cracks or get missed and accidents occur. In these situations, it’s vital to be prepared! If a fire has occurred, even a few seconds of time can make the difference in whether or not everyone makes it out safely. Check out these tips.
- Develop an exit plan: Map out the various exits from each room of the home and make sure all family members are well aware of them. It’s also recommended to put these plans to practice! Doing this ensures no one has to waste time considering the best way out when flames are spreading fast.
- Consider installing a home sprinkler system: When fire sprinklers are installed and linked to your smoke alarms, survival rates during a fire go up significantly. Most only associate these with businesses, but they’re surprisingly affordable, and they can increase the value of your home, too!
- Once you’re out, stay out: If a fire has occurred and you’re safely out of the home, stay out no matter what! Call for help and wait for the proper authorities to come and take any necessary action.
- Talk with your kiddos: Discussing fire safety and prevention with your little ones can make a huge impact on their level of preparedness during an emergency.
Are You Ready for the Burn Season?
If you have a fireplace, rely on the team here at Owens Chimney Systems to get your system in tip-top shape for the upcoming burning season. Our award-winning crew will handle your system with care and dedication, and you can rest easier knowing we’re always up to date and well-informed on the latest news in the industry.
Our CSIA-certified sweeps are standing by. Give us a call, so we can set up your appointment today. We look forward to speaking with you soon!