Home Fire Safety Tips for Fall

Check Your Detectors

Spring forward, fall back, and check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. When you change your clocks, also change the battery in your detectors. Developing this habit is a good way to remember a simple task that can save your life. Be sure there are working smoke detectors on each floor of your home, particularly outside of sleeping areas. Approximately 20 percent of detectors don't work because of dead or missing batteries. In addition to replacing smoke detector batteries twice a year, smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years.

Space Heaters

Space heaters need space, too. As the weather gets cooler, space heaters come out of their summer hiding places. Remember to leave at least 3 feet of space around your heater. Unplug it when not in use.

Cozy Up to a Safe Fireplace

Fireplaces are involved in thousands of home fires each year. Before you toss a log on the fire, have your chimney inspected annually and cleaned when needed. Creosote, the buildup of deposits, is a top reason for fireplace fires. In addition, cracks can allow poisonous carbon monoxide to seep into your home. And finally, a thorough inspection will remove any animals that may have built a home in your chimney during the summer. The fire protection association also suggests the use of fireplace screens to keep sparks from floating out. In addition, don't leave your home or go out or go to bed with a fire left burning. And if your have a gas fireplace, have all the connections and lines checked.

Have an Escape Plan in Place

Be sure you have a family fire escape plan, and practice it regularly. Have an escape route for each area of your home and a designated meeting place outside. Draw a map of the escape plan and make it easy for all members of the family to understand. Train every one to stay low to the ground when escaping a fire. If you must travel through smoke to your exit, crawl and keep your head at level of12-24 inches above the floor. Windows may provide a secondary means of escape from a burning home. For two-story homes, we would suggest the purchase of a non-combustible escape ladder that's tested and listed by an independent testing laboratory. Store the ladder permanently near the window. Escape ladders are available at most hardware stores. Buy one that hangs away from the house, rather than right up against it. Practice deploying the ladder, including how to use it from a first floor widow.

Outside the Home

Never park your car or truck over a pile of leaves.  The heat from the vehicle's catalytic converter or exhaust system can ignite the leaves below.  The resulting fire could destroy your vehicle. Flammable liquids should not be stored in inside the home or in an attached garage or shed. This includes any unused fuel still in the fuel tank. Store this equipment away from your home or drain excess fuel out of the tank before storing. This simple safety precaution will help prevent accidental fires from escaping fuel vapors. Remove fuel from lawn mowers before storing them for winter. Contact your utility company if trees or branches are not clear of power lines. Prune back trees, and rake up leaves and debris. If you live in an open area with a lot of natural vegetation, consider creating a defensible fire zone around your home. Prune the bottom branches from trees and remove shrubs and trees within 20 feet of your home. Don’t store cardboard boxes, paper or other flammable materials in the backyard. These materials provide ready fuel for a fire and all it takes is one spark.

Do You Have Defensible Space?

Fire season isn't over. It's not too late to make sure that your roof is clear of leaves or pine needles and that there is a clear space of at least 30 feet between your house and the nearest tree.

Halloween Fire Safety Tips

· Use a battery light instead of a candle in your favorite jack o' lantern.
· Make sure that children's costumes are made of flame-retardant materials.
· Make decorations of flame retardant materials or treat them with a flame-retardant solution