The cool temperatures of fall are upon us in Toronto, just in time for Ontario Fire Prevention Week. As we’re getting our little ghouls and goblins ready for another year of trick or treating, it’s also to time to think of a few important tasks around the house. Notably, there’s no time like the present to prevent the devastation of a house fire.
New Batteries in the Smoke Detector
Daylight savings time ends on November 2, 2014. A lot of your electronics will automatically re-set the time on their clocks these days, but arguably the most important piece of fire safety equipment in your house needs a little TLC. New batteries for all smoke detectors in the home are a must twice a year, and doing it when the clocks change is a good way to remember to do it consistently. Even if your smoke detectors are hard-wired, it’s important to keep the backup batteries fresh. Remember, many fires start in the electrical system.
If you’re one of the lucky people with a wood-burning fireplace in your home, remember to have your chimney cleaned. It is important to do this before you “fire” it up for the first use this year. Creosote, a by-product of burning wood, is highly flammable so a buildup in the chimney could be a serious fire hazard. At the very least, it will keep the chimney clear to keep the smoke flowing outside the house.
Review the Fire Evacuation Plan
Every family needs to have a fire evacuation plan that all members of the household understand. If fire blocks the main exit of your home, you need to have a backup escape plan ready very quickly. Young children need to know what the smoke detector sounds like, and what to do if it goes off in the middle of the night. This plan should be reviewed periodically and revised as necessary to accommodate changes in rooms and children getting older.
It’s a good idea to have the furnace inspected in the fall anyway, because if it’s going to break down it will happen on the coldest day of the year! But it’s also important because furnaces are one of the leading causes of house fires, and many of those fires could have been prevented by a thorough cleaning of the system.
A New Kind of Candlelight
As the holiday season starts to creep up on us, it’s a good idea to think about some new, safe holiday traditions. For example, candles are a big part of the holiday celebration in many families. But with family gatherings, kids, pets, and the general craziness of the season, open flame candles can be a fire hazard. Consider making the switch to LED flameless candles to preserve the old traditions, safely.
Many of the steps to fire prevention are simple and only take a few minutes to complete. We’re fire recovery specialists, but we’d rather see everyone enjoy the beauty of fall and the holiday season that follows it in a fire-safe way.
Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net