Home Fire Safety Tips

Home Fire Safety Tips

The end of the summer is the best time to prepare for the fall and winter wood-burning season. Here are a few home fire safety tips and recommendations to make it a safe burning season. Plus, download your own Home Fire Escape Plan to be prepared and practice fire safety with your family.

Smoke Detector Installation & Maintenance

  • A smoke detector, or smoke alarm, should be installed in every bedroom, outside every sleeping area, and on every level of your home.
  • Install your kitchen smoke detector at least 10 feet from the stove and other cooking appliances to avoid false alarms.
  • If you’re mounting the smoke alarm on the wall, it should be no more than 12 inches from the ceiling to the top of the alarm.

Some of the newer smoke detectors can be hardwired into your electrical system, but they often have a battery back-up. Most detectors require a 9 volt battery. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that smoke alarms should be tested monthly. They also say you should replace the battery at least once a year. It’s a good idea to change the batteries in your smoke detectors twice a year to be extra safe, especially if you forget to test them monthly.

It is also recommended that the entire smoke alarm unit be replaced every 8-10 years. You can learn more about smoke alarm installation and maintenance from the NFPA website.

Home Fire Escape Plan ImageHome Fire Escape Plan

It is also important for everyone in your household to know the plan for getting out of the house when they do hear a smoke alarm. Learn how to make a Home Fire Escape Plan so you and your loved ones can safely exit your home in the case of a fire.

Don’t Forget Carbon Monoxide Detectors

If you heat your home with gas, you should have a carbon monoxide detector near every bedroom. That includes basement bedrooms. This type of gas is a quiet killer. You can’t smell it. You can’t see it. So you need to protect against it with a carbon monoxide detector.

Kitchen Fire Safety Tips

If you experience a kitchen fire, extinguish it with a lid if it is on the stove top, or close the oven door. Both actions will suffocate the fire. Never throw water on a kitchen fire!

To help prevent kitchen fires, always stay in the kitchen while food is cooking.

Fire Extinguisher Locations

It is also a good idea to mount an ABC Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher near the exit of your kitchen and away from the stove.

In addition to keeping one in the kitchen, I would also suggest you keep a fire extinguisher in the master bedroom, or an adult’s bedroom. Then it can be easily and quickly located if there is a house fire in the middle of the night. You may need it to be able to get from your bedroom to your children and safely get everyone out of the house.

Wood-burning Stove SafetyWood Stove Installation Guidelines

Indoor Wood Stove Safety

With an indoor wood-burning stove, 18 inches is the magic number for the distance from the actual stove to a combustible wall. In some cases, the room size doesn’t allow the extra room for stove placement like this. You can use heat sinks and/or fire mats as a barrier to absorb the heat that radiates against the wall of the house. The idea is to keep the wall from overheating and igniting.

Outdoor Wood Furnace Safety

Outdoor wood furnaces, or water furnaces, are becoming more popular. A big thing to consider here is the distance from the furnace to the house. Some furnace manufacturers have distance recommendations and some do not.

We at Bruce Gardner Insurance Agency feel that having 50 feet from the furnace to the house is enough space for any sparks to burnout. We also recommend having a spark arrestor installed to prevent embers and sparks from landing nearby and starting a fire. Find out more about how spark arrestors keep you and your neighbors safe.

Before you install your outdoor wood furnace, check with your local code enforcement office to make sure you are compliant with the outdoor wood furnace installation distance to your house, any additional structures on your property, and your neighbors.

Hopefully these home fire safety tips are nothing new, but serve as a reminder on how to have a safe burning season.

Free Site Review? If you’d like a site review of your fireplace, smoke detectors, outdoor wood furnace, etc. free of charge, we’d be happy to schedule an appointment.

Call Bruce Gardner Insurance Agency at (540) 463-6702 or email info@brucegardnerinsurance.com to schedule your free site review.

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