Winter is one of the worst times of the year when it comes to house fires. This is especially true if the temperature is a bit colder than usual. For example, in 2012 in Western Australia there was a bit of a house fire epidemic, which authorities noted was due to the fact that the weather was colder than usual, which prompts people to bring out extra appliances to heat their homes. These extra appliances are usually not monitored as closely as they should, which leads to them malfunctioning and causing a house fire. So, it is important to be extra cautious during the colder months, unless you want to have a house fire on your hands (and we doubt anyone wants that).
Here are some tips that are easy to follow and that will help you keep you and your family safe during the colder months:
By law, you are required to have functioning smoke alarms in your home. But unfortunately, a lot of people don’t bother to ensure that their smoke alarms actually work or that they work efficiently. It may also be worth it to look into upgrading your smoke alarms if you happen to still use an old style of smoke alarm. We have written before about different kinds of smoke alarms and you may find the post useful. As you can see from that post, there are new types of smoke alarms out there that are more useful for detecting fires. So, if you want some new fire alarms installed, why not give us a call, we offer professional smoke alarm installation.
You might be tempted to use space heaters during the colder months, especially in the bedroom or in the living room, where you tend to spend a lot of time. While space heaters are effective when it comes to keeping the place warm, they do have some major issues with regards to causing house fires. This article from America explains some of the major issues with space heaters, but for those who cannot read it, let us summarize.
First off, space heaters tend to get really hot (this probably goes without saying), but the issue with that is that people sometimes put them too close to things that are flammable. For example, some people put space heaters by their beds to keep them warm at night, this is problematic because some of the fabric on the bed is going to be extremely flammable and thus putting a space heater near it is just asking for a fire to break out.
Likewise, if you put a space heater in your living room, you risk starting a house fire because of the carpet, drapes, or furniture catching on fire. Plus, there is the fact that a lot of people tend to use extension cords to help run space heaters in different rooms. This is problematic because, as we have said in , you cannot use extension cords for long-term use, they simply were not designed to be used that way.
If you are one of those people lucky enough to have an indoor fireplace, then you should be extra careful when using them. If the flame in the fireplace is kept at a controllable level, then there is no issue. The problem occurs when the flames get too intense, embers and sparks can shoot out and may start a house fire. Obviously, not everyone has home fireplaces so this is not a huge issue, but it is still something we thought should be mentioned.
When it is not cold, you tend to store your heating equipment. A lot of people choose to store their heating equipment in places like basements, attics, etc. The problem with this is that those areas tend to be loaded with dust and other debris, which can find its way into the heating equipment. This is dangerous because dust can quite easily interfere with the equipment and cause it to overheat. When heating equipment overheats it can malfunction and cause a house fire. So, when you pull out your heating equipment for the winter, make sure you give it a good cleaning, on both the inside and the outside. If possible, take the equipment apart to make sure that all the dust inside has been removed.
If you are using more heating equipment than usual then you are probably putting a lot of strain on your home’s electrical system. When you put too much strain your home’s electrical system you risk not only damaging the electrical system, but also the appliances on the electrical system. This is a very common issue during the summer as well, as a lot of people tend to overload on fans or other electrical appliances to cool them down. Remember to always be diligent about your power usage and to be wary about how many appliances you are running at once.
Even with all these tips, it is still possible that a house fire can occur through simple bad luck and you need to be prepared for that outcome. In the event that a house fire occurs, you should have what is called a home escape plan. Basically, these are plans that you use in the event of a home emergency that forces you to evacuate; the most obvious use of which is during a house fire.
You can find more detailed information on home escape plans on this website from the government of Western Australia. In general, your home escape plan should include ways to escape from every possible room and what door people should run to in the event that a fire occurs. It may sound unnecessary, but in the event of a house fire, you are going to be glad you have one ready.