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.
This is a guest post by Nick at Guardian Fire Protection. If you would like to Guest Post, check out the Guidelines here.
A fire extinguisher that’s not properly charged is just as dangerous, if not MORE dangerous, than not having a fire extinguisher at all. One thing many people don’t know is that fire extinguishers that have been used at all should be considered empty and should be either recharged or replaced – regardless of how much extinguishant was actually sprayed out! So now that you know when your fire extinguishers need to be serviced, the question remains: should they be recharged or replaced?
A good fire extinguisher should last you up to 12 years or more, provided you keep up with proper maintenance. What this means as long as the shell holds up, you should be fine with just having your fire extinguisher refilled and letting it live its life. However, if you want the best (and most economical) fire protection, you’re usually better off letting your fire protection company replace the extinguishers! Fire extinguishers are generally not expensive (refilling them is often the same cost as replacing!) and getting brand new fire extinguishers is the easiest way to guarantee that you’ll be completely protected from fires.
Note: the above applies only to fire extinguishers that have been used. If your fire extinguisher is slowly losing charge even though you haven’t touched it in a while, you may have a leak or a small crack in the shell – both things that would require fire extinguisher replacement.
When else should you have your fire extinguishers replaced?
This is a guest post by Karen Ho Fatt. If you would like to Guest Post, check out the Guidelines here.
Not everyone hunkers down and hibernates during the winter. In fact, with backyard fire pit usage growing in popularity, more and more people are enjoying crisp winter evenings outdoors, in the comfort of their patio paradise. Along with this trend is the need for an increased awareness of residential fire safety in addition to the common sense steps taken when having a wintertime fire. Let’s take a moment to review fire pit safety during the winter season.
As with any outdoor fire, whether at a campground or in your backyard, careful attention should be paid to the surrounding foliage. During autumn, dried leaves and plant material can accumulate around the fire pit, providing quick burning fuel for a stray ember to ignite. Clear any dead vegetation to at least 10 feet from around the fire pit. This way, if you burn soft woods to create that wonderful crackle we all love, the popping embers won’t have anything to start a fire with.
This is a guest post by Sally Davidson. If you would like to Guest Post, check out the Guidelines here.
If your home fire alarm woke you up in the middle of the night, would you know what to do? If not, here are some steps you can take to create a home fire escape plan.
1. Make an Escape Plan – Work together with your family to draw a map of your home – graph paper makes this easy. Mark the location of all doors and windows as well. Then designate two ways to escape from every room, giving special consideration to the bedrooms.
2. Discuss Responsibilities – Another important part of your escape plan should take into account any family members who might need help escaping, such as the very young or those with disabilities. Give each family member specific responsibilities. For example, siblings who sleep in the same room can wake each other up. Emphasize that you will work as a team.
3. Choose Meeting Places – You should choose two meeting places. The first should be an obvious place outside your home. The second should be further away, such as at the end of the street, in case it isn’t safe to be so close to the house. Mark these places on the escape plan.
4. Emergency Contacts – Post emergency numbers next to every phone in your house and program them into your cell phone. Designate a friend or relative who lives nearby as your emergency contact person. Make sure your children have this number memorized, along with your own address and number.