What strikes fear into the heart of a commercial landlord? A tenant who doesn’t pay? Vandals? No, it’s an unannounced visit from the fire marshal! Since the building is older, I was worried he might label it a fire hazard and make us evacuate immediately. Luckily, we only got dinged for two minor things. The whole experience did get me thinking about fire safety and our own home. Call me Smokey Bear, but I think there are probably some things we can all improve on as far as preventing fires at home, and no, because you don’t cook much does not mean you can’t have a fire!
Check Your Smoke Alarms
Years ago, the unwritten rule was to change your smoke alarm batteries when daylight savings began and ended. What if you live in Indiana or Arizona where they don’t do daylight savings? What about now that there is much more time on longer daylight months? I also recently noticed a smoke alarm we took down because it was beeping and we didn’t have an extra battery. Don’t forget to put them back up! Smoke detectors work great, but not if they don’t have batteries and are stuck in a drawer.
Get a Carbon Monoxide Detector
If you have any sort of appliance or heating system that uses any fuel besides electricity, or if you have and attached garage, you need a carbon monoxide detector. After reading this article about a whole family who died in their sleep from carbon monoxide poisoning, it freaked me out a little bit. At least I might be able to see or smell a fire. I am putting a new battery in our detector right now.
Have a Working Fire Extinguisher
One of the things we got dinged for at the office was for having a fire extinguisher that was old and not recently inspected. Apparently for commerical use, you have to have your extinguisher inspected by a licensed company every year. It costs about $11 to do this where we live. I don’t know that I will do this with our extinguishers at home, but if you have an old one that is questionable, it might be a good idea to replace it. They aren’t expensive. If you have a large house or a work shop, it’s a good idea to have an easily accessible extinguisher in each area. If you don’t know where your extinguisher is, that doesn’t count!
Be Careful With Storage
The other thing we got in trouble for at work was storing old file boxes near the furnace. One spark and it could have been kaboom! Well maybe it wasn’t explosive, but it could have easily started a fire. Keep flammable materials away from pilot lights or other electrical appliances.
Clean Your Chimney
If you have a chimney, summer or fall is a great time to call the chimney sweep. We had this done in our first house, and I don’t remember it being that expensive. I can easily see people wishing they had remembered to clean the chimney after they’ve had a fire. In Colorado, we always tend to be alert to fires. It seems like this time of year, you can think fire and one seems to break out. I know I’ve probably had a false sense of security about fire safety since we have a newer house and don’t live near the forest, but I had a work collegue who lost his house to fire recently. It was newer than ours. Sometimes, you can’t prevent all catastrophies, but it is easy to make sure you’ve done everything you can to avoid them. What other fire safety tips do you have? Ever been in a house fire? Image: Freedigitalphotos.net/think4photop