5 Little Known Fire Starters
This is a guest post by Allen. who writes for YourLocalSecurity.com. If you would like to Guest Post, check out the Guidelines here.
Many of us know the most common fire hazards in a home. Smoking and associated practices, like falling asleep with a lit cigarette or leaving a cigarette burning in an ashtray, is a major source of home fires. Careless cooking practices, especially while frying, also cause many home fires each year. Despite the danger of these practices, most people are aware of the risk that they pose, so they are generally fairly cautious when it comes to those things.
While it is a good idea to be conscious of the common fire starters, the danger often lies with the fire hazards that we are less familiar with. There are fire hazards around every corner, and we need to be aware of them if we want to prevent them.
#1- Christmas Lights
Some fire dangers are seasonal. The winter cold makes many of us turn to alternate forms of home heating to save money. These small-scale heating options, such as space heaters and fire places, can be energy-efficient, but they also create additional fire hazards. People are generally aware of the dangers posed by space heaters and fireplaces, though.
People are less aware of dangers that come in pretty holiday packages. As festive as they are, holiday lights prove a major seasonal fire hazard. Lights on outdoor trees, the exterior of the home or around windows can create heat and ignite small areas that can grow into major fires. Live trees prove the most dangerous fire source when it comes to Christmas lights, though. As live trees lose moisture, the dry wood and pines become more prone to catching fire due to contact with hot lights. It’s important to keep trees hydrated inside the home by supplying water at the base to minimize the fire hazard.
#2- Electrical Shorts
Most homeowners are likely aware of the possibility of faulty wiring inside their homes, and the potential fire hazard caused by improper wiring. They may be less aware, though, of the ways in which faulty wiring displays itself. Frayed or exposed wires are an obvious sign of faulty wiring, but less common signs include power surges, which can indicate internal wiring that lacks the capacity to sustain all the electronics in a home, or shorts. If you have a lamp or another electronic that seems to “short-out,” is slow to come on, or flickers off and on when the wires are moved, it may be a problem with the internal wires in the home. The best way to check whether a short is in the appliance or in the walls is to try another electronic in the same outlet.
Exterior fires may seem less dangerous than fires inside the home, but when started close to buildings, they can prove hazardous to those nearby structures. You want to be particularly careful when grilling or entertaining outdoors. When you have a bonfire or a grill that sits in your yard, you are probably more likely to let that fire “die out” naturally instead of ensuring that it gets fully extinguished before leaving it unattended. The major danger with this method is that wind can lift burning embers and carry them dozens of feet to a nearby structure. Indoors or outdoors, make sure all fires on your property are fully extinguished prior to leaving them unattended.
If you have construction going on in your home or around property, it’s easy to leave it to the professionals. While this may be sound thinking when it comes to repairs being made to your home, it may be less wise when it comes to the safety. Construction requires numerous pieces of equipment, many of which are powered through electricity or gas, and any of which can be left on by accident. Although it may be the contractor’s responsibility to ensure that things get turned off at the end of the night, is it really worth the risk? It’s a good idea to keep in mind that you own the property, and it may be worth a walk-through at the end of the evening when the work is done to make sure everything is off.
It’s so simple, it sounds almost silly, but when it comes to little-known fire starters, few are as dangerous as dryer lint. According to CBS News, dryer lint causes more then 15,000 home fires each year. Dryer lint becomes a fire hazard when it builds up in the lint traps and piping of the appliance. You can prevent dryer lint from turning into a potential fire starter by cleaning the lint trap after every use and having the piping that vents the heat to the exterior of the home cleaned yearly.
There are fire hazards all around us, and we are probably not even aware of most of them. But with a little common sense and some regular maintenance, you can keep your home as fireproof as possible.
About the Author: Allen writes for In Good Measure , a blog by YourLocalSecurity.com about life, work, and everything else.