Is your home protected against fire hazards?
You may not think your home is in danger, but you’d be surprised how many fire hazards exist around the house. So, to help you safeguard against fires, today we’re reviewing some of the most common—yet hidden—causes of residential fires:
A small number of preventative measures can make a big difference. And while it’s not the most fun subject to talk about, it’s important to review fire safety from time to time. All it takes is one forgetful moment, one seemingly harmless accident, to prompt an unthinkable fire that leaves you wishing you’d taken fire prevention more seriously.
Let’s get into it!
At Ackerman Security, we take home security to the next level with 24/7 professional fire monitoring. Should a fire occur in your Atlanta residence, our systems will alert the fire department within seconds. To keep your family and precious belongings safe, get a free instant quote for fire monitoring today. Or, speak with our home security experts at 800.552.1111.
Always clean the lint trap before running the dryer.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 2,900 dryer fires occur each year, with failure to clean dryer lint as the leading cause. And if that wasn’t enough, they also report an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss due to these fires!
Lint is highly flammable, and when it builds up in your dryer vent, the blockage can cause your dryer’s heating elements to catch fire. The next time you do laundry, make sure you check the lint trap. Even if it only has the tiniest amount of lint on it, take the time to clean it out.
For further protection, you might have a professional inspect your dryer vent system once a year. Like hiring someone to clean your chimney or tune up your furnace, it’s worth a small amount of maintenance to safeguard against fire hazards.
Is your home’s wiring outdated? If so, you could be at risk for an electrical fire.
This commonly happens with older homes that have aluminum wiring, frayed wiring, or improper wiring connections. When exposed to insulation or nails, electrical current is vulnerable to building excess heat, which can quickly cause a fire to break out.
The ESFI (Electrical Safety Foundation International) reports an estimated 51,000 electrical fires each year, "nearly 500 deaths, more than 1,400 injuries, and $1.3 billion in property damage.” So, if you’ve lived in your home for a while, or have done any DIY electrical improvements, it’s not a bad idea to have your wiring inspected by a licensed electrician.
If your home has loose outlets, you’re at risk of an electrical fire.
Loose outlets account for 10% of annual electrical fires. This tends to happen with age, as the blades inside the outlet (the two prongs through which you plug an appliance in) begin to deteriorate. Without proper protection from heat, not to mention the disruption of electricity flow, you’re at risk of “arcing,” which is a severe fire hazard.
If you’re purchasing a new home, your inspector will typically inform you of any loose outlets that aren’t to code. But if you’ve owned your home a long time, you should make sure all outlets are updated.
The good news is that it’s pretty easy to tell if your outlets are loose. When you plug in an appliance, it will feel unsturdy or insecurely attached to the wall.
Not all of us keep tidy kitchens, especially when preparing a meal for our friends and family. However, you must mind your appliances when cooking. With easily flammable products like paper towels and rags beside a gas burner, you could accidentally ignite a kitchen fire within mere seconds.
We know it can be stressful, but do your best to stay organized while cooking. Make sure that all linens like potholders and tea towels are safely away from any open flames.
Even if you have an electric stove or oven, it’s important to keep a watchful eye. Never leave them unattended while in use. If you have to run out for an errand, turn them off, or ask someone in your home to “babysit” that pot or pan for you.
Keep space heaters at least three feet away from furniture, linens, and curtains.
Space heaters may seem harmless, but did you know they can catch fire?
Just this year, The New York Times reported on a Bronx apartment fire that killed 17 people. When federal authorities finished their investigation, they uncovered that an electric space heater started the fire.
While space heaters aren’t the leading cause of electrical fires (or house fires, for that matter), the Times revealed that “space heaters have been linked to about 1,700 residential fires a year, resulting in about 80 deaths and 160 injuries, according to a 2021 report by the commission.”
Electrical fires happen when space heaters overheat, so make sure you keep yours at least three feet away from any bed linens, curtains, or blankets. Also, never leave it on for days at a time.
Check your smoke detectors at least once a year.
Last but certainly not least, ensure your home’s smoke detectors are up to date. After all, it’s their job to alert you of a potential fire in the house.
Many smoke detectors are battery-operated, and they will usually start to “chirp” when the batteries are low. The sound is pretty annoying when it starts, but it’s a helpful reminder that you need to change the batteries out.
If your smoke detector is hard-wired, you should have it inspected by a professional once a year. Hard-wired models (such as the ones offered by Ackerman Security) can be integrated into your home security system. If anything needs updating, you’ll get an automated message straight to your phone or tablet. Plus, we offer 24/7 fire monitoring. Should a fire break out in your home, we’ll immediately alert the authorities.
For more than 50 years, Ackerman Security has been Atlanta’s most trusted name in home security. Offering 24/7 home monitoring, our experts will help you prevent fires, burglaries, and lethal levels of Carbon Monoxide in your home. To get a free quote on the latest smoke alarms, CO detectors, and round-the-clock fire monitoring services, call us at 800.552.1111 or schedule online today.