Tips to prevent fire - Home and business
No one wants to deal with the devastation of a house or office fire. Not only are these disasters potentially dangerous, but they can also cause long-term, costly damage that you might end up dealing with for months or even years.
So, what can you do to protect your home or commercial space against a fire? Here at your local Atlanta restoration company, One Stop Restoration cleaned up after many big and little fires that could have been prevented. And we’ve put together a list of improvements and habits that can lower your risk for this kind of disaster.
With these steps, we hope that you never find yourself in the position of needing a fire damage restoration team!
How to prevent fires in residential spaces
Fires in residential spaces can happen quickly, and there’s not always someone around to call 911 at the first sign of trouble. That’s why it’s always best to prevent fires before they happen. Here are a few ways to do so:
Clean your vents
Over time, the air ducts in your ventilation system can become blocked by dust and debris. Not only does this affect the efficiency of your heating and cooling system, but it can also put your home at risk for a fire spreading more quickly. That’s because the dust build-up in your vents tends to be highly flammable.
This is especially true for your dryer vent, which is not only quickly blocked by lint from your clothes but also made more vulnerable to fire because of the heat from the machine. These vents should be cleaned out at least yearly.
Practice caution with candles
We’ve all heard this advice but it bears repeating. Lit candles should never be left unattended. And, you should always follow the instructions on the candle for how long it can remain lit.
Never place candles near flammable objects, and keep them out of reach of children or pets.
Replace or repair damaged wiring
If you see that the plastic housing around the wiring on your appliances is fraying and falling apart, don’t ignore it! Exposed wiring can spark and cause a fire. If you’re not sure how to fix it yourself, bring your appliance to an appliance repair specialist. Alternatively, consider replacing the unit entirely and keep it unplugged in the meantime.
Don’t overload electrical outlets
Your home might not have as many electrical outlets as you would like, but it’s still not a good idea to overload the ones you have. Doing so puts undue stress on the outlet, causing it to overheat and potentially catch on fire.
If you need more outlets in your home, consider calling in a certified electrician to help. They may be able to distribute the circuit safely to new outlets or install additional circuits to keep your home safe.
Be mindful about extension cords
One popular solution to a home with insufficient outlets is to use extension cords or power strips. But, these devices can also be prone to overheating and malfunctioning. Here are a few things to keep in mind when using power strips:
- Steer clear of outlet splitters. These are the boxy little devices that plug into your outlet and split the outlet into two or more plug-in receptacles. Unlike a high quality power strip, they do nothing to regulate the amount of power being taken from the outlet, making them more susceptible to overheating.
- Major appliances shouldn’t be plugged into power strips. Appliances such as refrigerators, televisions, and microwaves should never be plugged into anything other than a wall outlet.
- Don’t go with the cheapest option. There are plenty of cheap extension cords and power strips on the market, which might lead you to believe that all of these devices are essentially the same. The problem is that most of the cheaper options aren’t rigorously safety tested and don’t provide surge protection. Cheap options may also lack safety measures like automatically shutting off when the device is overloaded.
- Don’t stack power strips. We all have so many devices that even with a power strip, we may fight for more outlets. But resist the urge to plug one power strip into another.
- Don’t run extension cords under floor rugs. No one likes the look of a long cable in their home. But, hiding your extension cords under rugs can damage the wire housing and cause friction that could spark a flame.
Check your smoke detectors
Smoke detectors should be checked for proper function once a month. Even if they’re working, batteries should be changed twice a year. And the entire unit should be replaced once every six to ten years.
Avoid clutter buildup
A fire is only as effective as its fuel, so make sure that your home is an unfriendly place for a fire. This means keeping areas tidy and free of debris like newspapers, paper towels, and other highly flammable items.
This is especially true in the kitchen, where items placed too close to the stovetop can easily catch fire.
When renovating your home, always go with the most fire-resistant materials
Fireproofing your home with the right materials can be a more costly option, but you’ll be glad that you invested in your family’s safety in the long run.
When hiring a contractor, ask them how they plan on improving your home’s fire safety.
Have your home inspected
Atlanta Fire Rescue offers home inspections for anyone interested in getting a professional opinion on the safety of their home. When buying a new home, you should always make sure that the property has gone through a fire safety assessment.
Here is a link in case you are interested:
How to prevent fires in commercial settings
As a business owner or manager, you want to make sure that your office is a safe place for your employees and customers. Here are a few ways to improve the fire safety in your commercial space:
Take special care with large appliances
Office spaces tend to have electricity-intensive machinery like copiers and computers. As such, these large appliances should always be plugged directly into a power outlet. And, because they tend to use so much power, nothing else should be plugged into that outlet. Remember, also, that they should never be plugged into a power strip.
Install permanent power solutions
Not every office space is going to perfectly meet your needs. So you may find yourself with fewer power outlets or electrical outlets that are out of reach. It can be tempting in this situation to use extension cords but the fire safety pros warn against it. Not only can this potentially overload an outlet, but the loose cords can pose additional fire and work safety risks.
Instead, it’s a better idea to have a certified electrician modify your commercial space. They’ll be able to distribute power where you need it for a safer and more convenient set-up.
Don’t cut costs when it comes to power strips
If you do need to use power strips in your office, always use high quality ones. These will ensure that your power outlets aren’t overloaded and that your company’s electronics are protected in case there is a power surge.
Keep track of smoke detector checks
In an office setting, it can be more difficult to keep track of the last time smoke detectors were checked and replaced. So, make sure to have written documentation of when these safety steps are taken. That way, you can know that smoke detectors are in good working condition even if there’s been a change in staff.
Have a dedicated break room
It may seem better for productivity to provide quick access to the coffee machine or microwave alongside where your employees work. But this can pose a fire safety risk. All kitchen appliances should have their own space where they won’t come into contact with flammable office supplies.
Keep all areas as tidy as possible
From each employee’s workstation to that storage closet that is a little overstocked and messy, disorganized areas can be fire hazards. A little bit of clutter won’t necessarily start a fire, of course, but it can lead to accidents and make evacuation more difficult in case there is a fire.
Talk to your team about temperature control
To be sure, not everyone in your workplace is going to agree on the ideal indoor temperature. How to set the thermostat may even be an ongoing conversation within your office. But, the fact is, if some of your team members are forced to use portable heaters during the winter or fans during the summer, you could be setting yourself up for a fire hazard.
Instead of worrying about whether a portable heater will start a fire or overloading your electrical outlets with fans, find an indoor temperature that will keep your employees comfortable. It’s worth the investment.
Teach your team about fire safety
If you’re interested in implementing some of the tips we’ve offered about fire safety, make sure that your employees are on the same page. All team members should be trained in fire safety and be made aware of any changes that will make your office less prone to fires.
You can take steps to make your home and office fire safe today
As a trusted Atlanta restoration company, One Stop Restoration technicians have seen all kinds of fires in residential and commercial settings. We hope that with these tips, you can keep your family and team safe by preventing fires from starting in the first place!
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Kit HaringtonAtlanta, Georgia - Homeowner
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