In today’s fast-paced and connected world, ensuring the safety of our homes and businesses is more important than ever. One common and overlooked aspect of this safety is fire prevention.
By incorporating simple but effective fire prevention techniques, we can significantly reduce the risk of fires in both residential and commercial settings. In turn, these practices can save lives, protect valuable assets, and spare us from costly damages due to fire-related incidents.
How to Avoid Cooking Fires
Cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the United States and is a top reason for fires in businesses that handle food. A business can ensure safety with fire safety systems, especially if they require sprinkler systems. Homeowners will need to take other precautions.
Here’s how to avoid cooking fires:
- Stay vigilant: Always pay attention while cooking, and don’t leave the kitchen unattended.
- Keep a clean workspace: Regularly clean your cooking area and remove grease.
- Use proper tools: Utilize the right cookware, like oven mitts and fire-resistant utensils.
- Set smart timers: Set a timer for your cooking tasks, and remember to check on it.
- Avoid distractions: Limit engaging in activities that pull you away from cooking.
- Control pan flames: Control flames using baking soda and by removing the heat source.
- Install smoke alarms: Place and test functioning smoke detectors in your kitchen.
- Keep a fire extinguisher: Learn how to use a fire extinguisher and keep one close.
- Maintain appliances: Routinely check appliances for proper functioning.
- Educate family members or coworkers: Explain fire safety to necessary people.
As a rule, you should never cook over a stovetop if you’re sleepy. If you’re a homeowner, consider ordering in or using a microwave. An employee? Consider calling in sick if you’re able.
How to Minimize Heat (HVAC-Related) Fires
Heat-related fires are the second leading cause of business and house fires in the United States. Keep in mind that advice like maintenance, smoke alarms, and education still apply here, but there are unique ways to minimize heat–related fires. Be sure to take these precautions.
Here’s how to avoid heat-related fires:
- Change filters frequently: Replace or clean filters as often as needed (i.e., 3 months).
- Clear surrounding area: Keep combustible materials and clutter away from equipment.
- Inspect flues and vents: Regularly check your chimney, vent pipes, and flue systems.
- Choose appropriate space heaters: Invest in space heaters with safety features.
- Practice safe space heater usage: Never plug in space heaters when unattended.
- Use caution with fuel-burning equipment: Use the correct fuel type for devices.
- Store combustibles safely: Keep combustible materials away from heat sources.
Always call an HVAC specialist whenever you need to perform maintenance on your furnace.
How to Minimize Electrical Fires
Electrical fires are the third leading cause of all fires, and it isn’t hard to see why. Poorly maintained electrical systems can easily ignite a building. Once again, the traditional advice applies, but further caution should be taken. Never repair electrical systems by yourself.
Here’s how to avoid electrical fires:
- Inspect wiring regularly: Watch for frayed wires or damaged cords and replace them.
- Avoid overloading outlets: Refrain from plugging too many devices into a single outlet.
- Invest in GFCI outlets: Install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter outlets in high-risk areas.
- Unplug appliances: Disconnect devices with heating elements when not in use.
- Stay informed about recalls: Check for product recalls and replace them as necessary.
- Use proper cable management techniques: Organize cords to avoid electrocution.
- Install circuit breakers: Install breaks that switch off electrical supply during overload.
If you’re inhabiting a building that’s more than 50 years old and you’re not sure when you last conducted a full electrical inspection, book in for one at your latest convenience.