Chances are, you know some basic home fire safety checks that you should do periodically - like changing the batteries in your smoke detector once a year - even though the batteries are still working fine. But this isn't the only fire safety check you should do periodically. Here are some other recommended tips to help keep you and your family safe.
- Clean your stove burners and oven regularly. Hard grease build-up can become combustible.
- Check your cupboard for cleaning products, paints and other liquids that are flammable. Read each label carefully. Use and store each product only as recommended.
- Is there at least one smoke detector on each floor? Have you changed the batteries recently? It is recommended to keep the same schedule in replacing your smoke detector batteries as you do changing your clocks over during daylight savings. Ideally, you should have a smoke detector on each floor of your home and either inside or just outside each sleeping area (¼ of all home fires start in the bedroom). Test both your smoke detectors and Carbon Monoxide alarms monthly to ensure that they work and that you can hear them easily, especially in sleeping areas.
- Have your wood burning fireplace chimney cleaned out annually.
- If you keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen (and you really should) confirm that it is still good and in working order. Fire extinguishers have expiry dates - just like food! - and need to be checked at least once a year.
- Do you have a fire escape plan including a meeting place and does your entire household know it? Go over the plan with your family and make sure everyone knows where to go, what to do, and who to help if a smoke detector goes off or there is a fire.
- Do you have a copy of your fire escape plan available to overnight guests?
- Check that all windows open easily and that screens can be removed quickly, especially on upper floors.
- Make sure none of your electrical outlets are overloaded and adjust plugs and cords accordingly.
- Check your appliances on a regular basis, especially the ones you use daily, for worn or frayed cords.
- Ensure that any gas appliances are inspected annually.
- Clean out the lint trap of your dryer every time you put in a load of laundry. Have the outside dryer vent checked annually to make sure it is clear of debris and working properly.
- If you have a wood-burning fireplace or stove, get it cleaned and inspected by a licenced technician once a year.
Many local fire departments offer homeowners free tips and even in-home advice and inspections at no cost.