House fires are devastating, as someone who worked for a restoration firm I know first hand how much damage fire can cause, as well as the lasting damage from smoke and further damage from water. House fires peak in December and January so I thought it was a good time to talk about fire prevention for this blog entry.
Have a plan ready
So often a fire can be stopped before the fire department is called, replace your smoke alarm batteries at least once a year and have a fire extinguisher in an accessible spot and make sure everyone in the home is familiar with how to use it. It doesn't need to be a big bulky extinguisher but it should be type "K" (for grease fires) and type "A" (combustibles like wood). I keep a multi-use fire extinguisher spray under the kitchen sink.
You should also have a fire escape plan in place if the fire has gotten too out of control. Make a decision where everyone should meet if there is a fire and make sure everyone knows what to do.
Keep heating equipment safe
Go around your home and check there's no debris or buildup of pet hair in your baseboard heaters. If you have a fireplace or wood stove have your chimney cleaned before the heating season. You'll also want to make sure any space heaters are plugged into their own plug and not plugged into an already overloaded receptacle. Heating equipment is the biggest cause of house fires.
Practice good fire prevention
Fires can happen to anyone at any time, so its important to discard cigarette butts and use caution around open flames (such as candles or fireplaces). Keep an eye on the turkey and don't leave the house if you're cooking.
Fires are for the most part, preventable and with these tips you should have a fire-free holiday season.
Brent Whelan has been in the construction industry for over a decade and has worked for one of Halifax's top renovation companies and Canadas largest restoration firm. He's a Certified Professional Inspector and holds a Red Seal Endorsement in carpentry.