A Chimney Sweeper's Fire and Safety Prevention Techniques
Accidents at home are very common and account for thousands of trips to the emergency room every year. Often we think that is mostly the young and the old that are mostly at risk; but based on what I've seen - it's not true, it happens to everybody at any time !
Even the most minor or severe accidents are generally preventable. If you take the time and energy to inspect your home and then make the applicable or recommended changes you can prevent a lot of waisted time and pain.
Checking routine items and leaving nothing to chance will make you safe:
- Is the stove off before leaving the house or going to bed ?
- Did you leave the gas grill on after a party ?
- Is your chimney properly venting carbon monoxide out of the house ?
- Are the curtains in your daughter's bed room draped over the exposed night-light ?
- Did I leave any candles or cigarette butts burning ?
........check for this stuff, leave nothing to chance, and don't leave any of these conditions overlooked !
The kitchen probably has the highest degree of risk for most fires that start in the home especially when grease, oil, or fat is being used while cooking. Any splashing of these slick substances by accident even on to a low set flame can easily ignite to an uncontrollable fire and cause an unexpected emergency. The most obvious step while using oil or grease is never leave the stove unattended. Also never "ever" add water or anything wet to either what you're cooking or to put out even the smallest of grease fire as the water will instantly explode into steam and cause the grease to spatter which can cause serious burns and possibly set the home a blaze. This happens to many unsuspecting homeowners as they deep fry their Thanksgiving turkeys - turning their holiday into one they'll never forget !
Next the improper use of lit candles also causes hundreds of house fires each year. Never leave them unattended. Always use candle holders that are non-flammable. Additionally, keep any lit candles at least 6" away from other candles and never anywhere near fabric or upholstery. Do not use them as a light source when you can't find the flash light !
Grilling season is prime time for house fires because many homeowners use the grill too close to the house or garage ! What usually happens is that the any sudden wind can blow the red or white-hot charcoal ashes out of the grill and on to what ever is in its path. Any type of grill be it gas or charcoal should never be used in breezeways or enclosed porches, never under overhangs, and NEVER near cars. As always, never leave the grill unattended and always keep a fire extinguisher near. Keep children away from the grill at all times as they can quickly be seriously burned if they touch any part of the grill while it's on or in the case of gas grills, while storing always tighten the gas tank enough so that a curious youngster couldn't open the propane tank and be exposed to toxic gas fumes.
Next is getting the chimney swept and inspected regularly from a top-notch, licensed Chimney Cleaning company. The cleaning and inspection will drastically reduce the chances of a chimney fire that could cause extreme property and or smoke damage. In the worst case it could lead to loss of your home.
Finally one of the most frequent causes is dryer lint which is extremely flammable and if the dryer duct is installed improperly or left unattended can cause the build-up of lint and present itself as a fire hazard. Don't use the flexible plastic or metal vent ducts because they can collect large amounts of lint debris where they tend to sag. If possible, only use the straight sided metal ducts or if not, try to keep the flexible ones as short as possible as to not have any room for the lint to collect and clean it often.
Lastly and the most important keep at least one fire and carbon monoxide alarm on each floor of the home and install them on the ceilings and not on the walls - heat, fire, and gas rise ! Also keep at least one fire extinguisher conveniently located in the kitchen. Regularly test the alarms to make sure they work and change the batteries as needed.