Warmer weather will soon be upon us as winter transitions into springtime.
For many, warmer weather can mean yard work and spring cleaning – but it should also be a time of considering fire safety around the house. By working fire safety into your springtime routine, you can keep your loved ones safe in the new season.
In this blog, we’ve got five tips to get you started.
1. Clean out dryer vents
At the minimum, dryer vents need to be cleaned out at least once a year – and ideally every six months if you run a lot of laundry, such as families with small children. You should hire a professional to clean it out to make sure it’s done correctly.
You should also make sure that the air exhaust vent pipe (outside your house) is not restricted and the flap opens when the dryer is running. Keep anything flammable – such as boxes or cleaning supplies – away from the dryer.
Of course, also clean out the lint trap after every cycle. These steps can all go a long way in preventing fires.
2. Inspect your grill
Before you host your first springtime barbecue, make sure your grill is working correctly.
Give it a full inspection, checking for grease or fat buildup, spider webs, and any other nests or debris. If you use a gas grill, ensure the propane tank hose has no leaks before you use it.
Another note: grills need to be at least 10 feet away from the house, decks and any other structures when in use.
3. Properly dispose of yard waste
Dead branches, pine needles, fallen leaves and pulled weeds can be fuel for a fire – you definitely don’t want to store these near your house.
Remove all dead plants and other flammable materials from around your house, especially within the first five feet of space around the home. Make sure the gutters are clean and that dead leaves and pine needles are removed from the roof as well.
Wood piles and trash should all be kept at least 30 feet away from your house and any other buildings or sheds. All of these steps will help protect your house from fire risks.
4. Properly store and dispose of painting materials
Spring is a great time to refinish furniture, fences, playsets and more. But, make sure that you store the materials correctly if you’re doing this kind of work.
The oils used in oil-based paints and stains actually release heat as they dry, and so if rags covered in these materials are left in a trapped space, a fire can break out.
Don’t leave cleaning rags or stain rags in a pile. Let them dry outside and keep them far away from your house. Ideally, hang rags outside or spread them out from one another, weighing them down so they don’t blow away. Dried rags can be kept in a tightly-covered metal container, which should be filled with a water and detergent mixture to break down the oils.
Containers of oily rags should be kept in a cool place out of direct sunlight, away from any heat sources. Your town likely has places to dispose of such materials.
Paint should be stored in a dry place out of direct sunlight. They should be stored inside, but paint can be flammable, so make sure to keep paint away from a furnace or other sources of heat. If you have a lot of paint, you can purchase a flammable storage cabinet to keep it in.
5. Replace smoke detector batteries
Finally, spring is a great time to replace the batteries in all of your smoke detectors, as this should be done at least once a year anyway.
When you do this, test out each detector to make sure they’re all working, and take some time to chat with your family about your fire escape plan. Practice the plan to make sure everyone knows what to do if a fire emergency happens.
This year, make fire and life safety a part of your spring-cleaning routine. Want more information about fire safety? Check out our other blogs or reach out to us for a consultation.