The first day of spring has officially come and gone, and while the weather may not agree yet, warmer temperatures are approaching. With more daylight, many people feel a renewed sense of energy and begin to tackle those projects around their homes they put off during the darker winter months. Spring cleaning is an important part of keeping your home and family safe from fire, and can be overlooked. This spring, make fire safety part of your routine to stay on top of fire prevention in your home, whether you own your home or rent. Add these tips to your weekend to-do’s, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with prevention.
Clean your grill
Some families grill year-round, while others break it out again in the spring and summer. While your grill sits over winter, grease, and build-up can harden and make it easy work for fire to catch. Before firing it up this spring, inspect it for damage and remove any trapped grease or debris that may have lingered there. A thorough cleaning will help avoid preventable grill fires in the future.
Maintain your yard
Dried leaves can be especially flammable and need to be removed from any areas near your household structures, garages, and sheds. Debris is one of the top fire-causing factors in home fires, but your risk can be reduced with simple yard maintenance. Pay special attention to twigs and branches, and dead plant life that could catch fire easily when dried.
Kitchen & cooking
Cooking is the number one cause of home fires, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Whether you’re frying, grilling, broiling, or boiling, stay in the kitchen whenever you are cooking and never leave a hot stove unattended. When you’re tackling kitchen cleaning this spring, remove any items that may be on or around the stove that could catch fire; napkins, wooden utensils, cookbooks, etc. Redesignate safe areas for these items to go while keeping your stovetop clean and clear from your everyday household items. Pro tip: Keep pot and pan handles towards the back of your stove when in use to avoid them getting bumped!
We all love a good-smelling home and new candles may seem essential for spring, but firefighters will warn you against the dangers of burning candles irresponsibly, as they are a common cause of home fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), candles were a cause of more than 7,600 reported home structure fires between 2014 and 2018. The good news is that most candle fires are preventable. Keep candles away from flammable materials such as curtains, bedding, home decor, books, or dried plants or flowers. Make sure they have a stable location where you or a pet can’t knock them over easily, and of course, never leave them unattended.
Changing out your filters and light bulbs this spring? Add checking your smoke alarms to your list, and grab extra batteries at the store as needed. If your smoke alarm is older than 10 years, it needs to be replaced. Test your smoke alarms throughout the house, making sure you have one in every area as designated by your local fire department and zoning/building codes. Test your alarms regularly (once a month is recommended), and be sure to have one on every level. Most children who die in fires live in homes without working smoke alarms – err on the side of safety and do your spring cleaning smoke alarm due diligence.
Safe home heating
The second leading cause of home fires, fires caused by home heating can be prevented with a few simple steps according to NFPA. Practice the three-foot rule, ensuring anything that can burn is at least three feet away from heating units in your home including wood stoves, portable heaters, and radiators.
An escape plan for your home is a great thing to revisit during spring, and at least twice per year. Your plan should have two ways out of each room, and a designated safe meeting spot outside of the home where everyone in the household knows to go in the event of a fire.
Spring cleaning isn’t just sprucing up around the house, especially when it comes to fighting and preventing fires. By following these “7 Spring Cleaning Tips” for fire safety, you’ll be protecting and preventing your home from fire dangers, damage, and avoidable irreparable loss. Learn more about the National Fire Fighter Corporation (NFFC) and receive more tips and fire prevention information with our monthly newsletter. Follow along with NFFC on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.