The Aberdeen Fire Department responds to literally hundreds of fires a year. Unfortunately many of the calls could have been prevented by following a simple safety precautions. Keeping baseboard and portable heaters away from flammable objects will eliminate the most common type of household fires. Here are some other useful tips:
- Putting heaters too close to room furnishings, such as drapes and upholstered furniture: An electric or fuel burning heater can start fires if improperly placed. Watch where you put your heater in your house, or you may not have a house to put it in.
- Installing wood stoves too close to a wall: You can’t just put a wood stove any place that looks attractive, or your house could end up looking pretty bad. If your stove is installed in the wrong place or in the wrong way, it could burn down your house. So follow the instructions carefully when installing stoves and stovepipes, allowing for required clearances.
- Not inspecting fuel-burning furnace flues regularly: Your furnace gives off heat and something else too: Carbon Monoxide. If your furnace flue is clogged or loose, carbon monoxide could be going into your lungs instead of up the chimney. So have your flue professionally inspected regularly, before it’s too late for an inspection to make a difference.
- Not cleaning creosote from chimneys or fireplaces and heating stoves: If you’ve been burning a lot of wood, your stovepipe and chimney may have a heavy buildup of creosote. If the creosote were to catch fire, your roof could catch fire too. So clean out creosote before it wipes you out. Fireplace chimneys should be inspected and cleaned at least once a year; stovepipe chimneys once a month.
- Failure to provide adequate ventilation for fuel burning heaters: Gas heaters give off a lot of heat. They may also give off carbon monoxide. So keep a window open an inch or more in the room in which you use an unvented heater. Keep warm, but don’t risk your life doing it.
- Improper furnace maintenance: If your gas or oil furnace is not properly maintained, you could be in very big trouble. Carbon monoxide could be spreading throughout your house as a result of a malfunction. So before the beginning of each heating season, have your furnace inspected by a professional. Why take a chance when your life depends on it?
Properly Maintained Smoke Alarm
Review the following to learn how to properly maintain a smoke alarm:
- Install: The Aberdeen Fire Department recommends that you install at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home, including the basement. Even better is one in every bedroom. Smoke alarms are designed to wake you up if a fire starts while you are sleeping. Be sure your smoke alarms are near bedrooms and other sleeping areas in your home.
- Test: When was the last time you heard your smoke alarm? Battery-operated alarms should be tested once a month to make certain they are working.
- Change: Replace the batteries in your smoke alarm once a year. The Aberdeen Fire Department recommends you do this when we change our clocks to Daylight Savings Time each fall.
- Replace: Replace your smoke alarm every ten years. After ten years, your smoke detector will have been working consecutively for 87,000 hours. No other appliance in your home works this long. If you do not know how old your smoke alarm is, or if it is ten years or older, replace it as soon as possible.
- Rental Properties: Whether you live in a rented house or apartment, your landlord is required to provide you with a working smoke alarm. Tenants are responsible for maintaining the smoke alarm(s) in good working condition.