Fire damage is disastrous to homes, causing immense destruction in a matter of minutes. It is therefore critical to take all the necessary precautions to reduce the impact of fire damage. This can include knowing how to store firewood, propane tank safety, and storage of flammable liquids. But fires can also be caused by candles and cigarette smoking, meaning preventative measures can involve little more than changing your behavior.
All electrical items are a potential fire risk. That’s particularly true for heating appliances. You should routinely inspect the appliance for faulty electrics and abnormal functioning to reduce the fire risk. If the appliance is broken, get it either repaired or replaced.
Some appliances come with automatic shut-off features if it senses something is wrong. When relying on such mechanisms, they should also be inspected periodically.
Heating appliances, like electric heaters and clothes driers, should be kept away from any potentially flammable materials, like curtains or bedding. You should also be conscious of where in your home they are located. Avoid putting them in attics or near bedrooms – as this can cause more damage or impact your escape.
Cooking is one of the most common causes of fire damage. Often people leave food cooking unattended. In such circumstances, it’s easy for a fire to spread rapidly. The solution is to stay with your cooking – particularly if using a gas stove – or to turn it off briefly if you need to leave the room. Setting a timer for food in the oven can also reduce the risk of fires occurring.
Also, the storage of flammable liquids, like cooking oils, is also critical. Avoid placing them near any open flame, as this can cause a Class K fire.
In addition, like heating appliances, routinely inspect and service your cooking appliances for damage or malfunctions.
Cigarette smoking and candles are two of the biggest causes of preventable fires. That doesn’t mean you need to give either up. However, consider when you smoke or burn candles and look for potentially flammable objects nearby.
Candles should never be left burning when you leave a room. It may look and smell nice, but the risk of fire is too great. Candles should also burn on a flat, solid surface, without any flammable objects directly above or nearby.
Cigarette smoking should occur away from flammable objects. For example, it is very easy for the ember of a cigarette to set light to a waste paper bin.
In either case, investing in a reliable smoke alarm system is one of the best preventative measures. You can also purchase a fire extinguisher so that if a fire does occur, you can respond immediately.
Propane tank safety is paramount to preventing extensive fire damage. The storage of other flammable liquids, like gasoline, paints, or adhesives should also be a chief concern. Even if these items don’t catch fire initially, they can act as accelerants if a fire does occur.
Store your propane tank away from the property on a sturdy surface, like a concrete slab. The area should also be shaded so that the tank does not exceed 120 °F – the propane tank safety threshold.
Suppose you have to store your propane tank inside. In that case, keep your tank on the ground in a well-ventilated location away from direct sunlight. Also, keep your tank above -40 °F in the colder months. Finally, always check the gas valve is in the OFF position when storing a tank.
Electrical fires can occur due to many potential causes: loose wiring, loose electrical sockets, improper grounding, light appliances, and overheating motors being some of them.
Preventing such fires can be simple. Loose wires, loose electrical sockets, and improperly grounding should be fixed immediately by a qualified professional. It is sensible to have a property inspection by a trained electrician to look for any potential electrical causes of fire.
Overheating is the main culprit in many electrical fires. Do not leave motors or other appliances running without monitoring their progress, or if the risk of fire is high, do not leave them unattended at all.
Moreover, joining multiple electrical extension leads together should always be avoided. It can overload the circuit and cause a fire. Neither should cables or wires run under carpets. This is a potential fuel source for the fire, and wires can become frayed due to rubbing.
Last, when fitting a light bulb to a lighting appliance, always make sure the bulb matches the wattage capacity. Installing the wrong bulb can cause overheating.
Children can’t just cause fires; they can also be severely injured by them. Keep children at least 3 feet away from anything that can cause terrible burns, like space heaters, stove-tops, and irons. Smoking materials, lighters, and matches should also be kept out of reach. Even better, keep them in a locked container.
Ensure your child is aware of the potential dangers, and help them to understand the consequences of playing with fire. A child who understands the dangers is less likely to start a fire.
In San Diego and the surrounding region, wildfires are an annual risk. If you spot a fire heading towards your property, you need to act fast. Store away furniture, cushions, and other flammable objects. Do not leave them outside. Close all windows and doors into the home, as embers can easily destroy a home through such openings. Trim back shrubs and tree branches away from your home. Rake up any leaves or mulch – this is prime fire material. In fact, all outdoor items within 30 feet of the property should be moved away.
Remember, for fire to grow, it needs something to burn. Deprive the fire of fuel, and you can substantially decrease the risk of fire damage.
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