No one wants to imagine that there’s danger lurking all throughout their home, but often there is. And while many of us will never have to deal with the worst-case-scenarios, that doesn’t mean the risk isn’t real. To help you protect your home and family, we’ve compiled a list of three common fire safety issues in the typical American household and how you can correct them.
3 Surprising Fire Hazards That Are Probably in Your Home
- Clothes Dryer Lint Traps
- Old Smoke Alarms
- Cluttered Kitchen Counters
Clothes Dryer Lint Trap
It might be strange to think about, but dryers actually present a very real fire hazard. For example, the little vent that is responsible collecting lint from clothes as they tumble dry can easily become overburdened. Little bits and pieces of fluff float down and around the screen and out of sight. Worse than even free-floating lint is a sheet of the fluffy stuff quickly accumulating on the screen itself, which is definitely happening if you’re one of the many people who only cleans the screen periodically. But we’re not here to point fingers.
Believe it or not, that lint can act like fluffy kindling and ignite under the right conditions. You can easily prevent this from happening by cleaning the dryer screen and the area around it after every load. It’s also a good idea to check your external dryer vent for lint. What isn’t trapped within the machine clogs up the exhaust and can be just as dangerous.
Old Smoke Alarms
Do you know when your smoke detectors were installed? When was the last time you checked the batteries in each unit? Some of us are lucky; we’re masters at burning toast and know without a doubt that our smoke alarms work. Others go on with their busy lives and disregard these quiet little safety controls operating in the background. But this is a massive mistake. Smoke detectors aren’t meant to be forgotten. The average life expectancy for a smoke alarm is only 8-10 years.
Take a moment after you read this article to test all the smoke alarms in your house. Even if they’re newer. Once you’ve established that they work (or that they don’t), go to your favorite calendar and choose a day next month that you’re going to test them again. Repeat indefinitely, replace as needed.
Cluttered Kitchen Counters
There’s a classic fire scene that plays out in cinema year after year – the dreaded rag catching fire on the stove. It seems so silly and far-fetched, but it actually happens more than you’d think. It’s not always a rag; sometimes it’s a paper towel or a magazine or a food wrapper. Anything that’s dry (or can dry out when exposed to heat) and ends up near your stove, hot plate, or any other kitchen appliance that heats up, is a potential fire starter. Even dry noodles and plastic can catch fire. It’s a jungle out there.
Avoid kitchen fires by keeping your counters free of unnecessary clutter and small appliances. It may seem harmless, but the less space you have to work, the more likely it is that you’ll set something in a less than ideal place. While you’re cooking, it’s also a good practice to periodically pause and scan the counters for anything flammable that’s close to a heat source.
For more tips and tricks to help you keep your home safe and efficient and to learn about flood and fire mitigation, visit our blog https://www.umpiremitigation.com/blog.