Fire damage is devastating. There are approximately 400,000 home fires in the United States every year (NFPA). We see many in Manchester, Concord, and Portsmouth every year. Many of these fires are preventable. We wrote this two part article to identify some of the leading causes of fire damage. The goal is to educate you on how to make your home a safer place and to prevent costly fire damage. We will provide you with 10 important tips. Five will be this month and the remaining five tips with be featured next month.
1. Where are your fire extinguishers? You should have at least one fire extinguisher on each floor of your home. Even better, you should target keys areas such as the kitchen, laundry, garage, and workshop. Make sure the extinguisher is rated for use in the particular area of the house you are storing it in. For example, you want a multi-purpose dry chemical extinguisher that will work on grease in the kitchen. You may still have smoke damage from grease fire, but the right tool can minimize extensive fire damage. Do not forget to inspect the extinguishers on an annual basis. They may need to be recharged or replaced.
2. Are you using electricity wisely? Use your extension cords sparingly. They should never be permanent fixtures in your home. Do not run cords inside walls or under rugs. Never overload plug outlets. Light fixture manufacturers have recommended wattage for their products. Make sure when replacing light bulbs that you do not use a higher wattage bulb than is recommended.
3. Have you tested your smoke detectors lately? Smoke detectors are one of the most important fire safety devices in your home. They save lives every year. Work with a licensed electrician to ensure you have smoke detectors in the right spots and that they are up to modern code. It is your job to inspect them on a regular basis. Replace batteries at least once a year. In addition to saving lives, detecting a fire quickly can prevent additional fire damage. It could be the different between saving and losing your home or business.
4. Do you maintain your fireplace? Keep your fireplace clean. Make sure to have a screen around it to avoid stray embers. Every fire should be completely out before going to bed. Also make sure to get your chimney cleaned and inspected every year. Monitor tree growth around your chimney. Keep branches at least 10 feet away. Fireplaces and chimneys cause a lot of fire and smoke damage every year. Do not neglect maintenance.
5. What are you doing with your cigarettes? Cigarettes, matches, and lighters are the #1 cause of deadly home fires and fire damage. Keep these items away from flammable materials. Do not allow children to have access to them. Make sure the burning remains in ashtrays are completely extinguished before disposing of.
Soil-Away Cleaning & Restoration helps families and business recover from property disasters. They specialize in insurance claim fire damage restoration. They will clean and restore your property from soot, smoke and fire issues. They service the greater Manchester, Concord, and Portsmouth areas.