Fireproofing Your Home
None of us expect a disaster to happen in our home. However, whether it be a fire disaster or a water disaster, they do happen. A fire disaster is reported approximately every 87 seconds in the U.S. Although a home fire can be unexpected and unpredictable, there are some simple precautions we can take to prevent a fire disaster from happening.
Fire extinguishers seem like a small thing, but they can be a huge lifesaver. They are able to? stop a fire from happening or suppress a fire from spreading further into the home. You should have an extinguisher in every room in the house. It’s important to take the time to learn how to use the extinguisher. Also, make sure to check the expiration dates on the fire extinguishers and replace or refill as necessary.
Smoke detectors are an critical part of fire safety in your home. Smoke alarms save lives!
- Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home.
- Test your smoke alarms every month.
- Change the batteries every year.
- Replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years.
Fire Resistant Products
You can be extra diligent about protecting your home from a fire by using fire resistant products and materials.
- Carpet: Fire resistant carpet is available in various colors and patterns. Also, you can treat the rugs in the home with fireproof chemicals.
- Furniture: You can coat your furniture with a fireproof sprays. Or, if you are purchasing new furniture, you can ask the store to put a fireproof chemical on it.
- Windows and Doors: You can shop around for fire-proof glass for your doors and windows. There is a glass product on the market that can withstand a fire for up to two hours made by Pilkington. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection recommends installing regular dual-pane windows throughout the house. Dual panes provide more protection than single-pane glass.
- Roofing and Siding: There are a handful of options when it comes to fire-resistant roofing and siding. There is everything from a fiberglass-based roofing material, metal tile, recycled-rubber tile, clay tile, slate, stone veneer and fiber cement. You?re sure to find an option that will work for you, if you do your research.
- Steel Garage Doors: Wayne-Dalton makes a garage door that is heat-resistant with a resin coating on the exterior that creates a protective barrier to prevent the spreading of flames.
- Insulation Systems:? Most insulation now days is fire-resistant, but the best material on the market is mineral wool. Wool can withstand heat in excess of 1,800 degrees. Also, installing a residential fire sprinkler system is a good idea and it may lower your homeowner’s insurance payments.
- Electric Box Fire Guards: Light switches and electrical outlets can be protected with a product made by Rector Seal. Their cover guards are made of condensed foam that expands when exposed to heat and the guards are designed to extinguish sparks caused by faulty wiring.
One of the major causes of home fires are faulty electrical wiring. If you have an older home, it is especially important for you to be extra diligent regarding these your home’s electrical wiring.
- Have a licensed electrician inspect the wiring in your home.
- Never overload your electrical outlets.
- Do not put rugs over electrical wiring.
- Check for frayed wiring on all your electrical appliances.
- Make sure your home is free of pests. Rodents can chew on electrical insulation and cause a fire hazard.
When it gets cold, it is nice to have a source of heat to warm up the house. However, heating systems are responsible for causing 15% of home fires and 13% of deaths.
- Furnace: Change the filter according to the manufactures instructions. Make sure items are near the furnace as material to ignite a fire. Always have a qualified technician repair a damaged furnace.
- Never leave a space heater unattended. Put space heaters at least 3 ft. away from drapes, bedding and other flammables. Never use extension cords with heaters.
- Inspect chimneys at least once a year: Fireplace, a wood stove, an oil furnace, a gas furnace, and even a gas hot water heater chimney.
- Water Heater: Clothes piled too close to a gas water heater can ignite when the water heater comes on. So, always use protective door around the water heater and make sure the appliance has protective combustion chamber covers.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are an estimated annual 15,500 fires, 10 deaths and 10 injuries due to clothes dryer fires. Therefore, be diligent about cleaning your lint trap each time you do a load of laundry. Also, disconnect, clean and inspect the dryer duct on a regular basis.
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