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HOMEWISE

Real Estate Tips and Advice

Fire Hazards in the Home

By JOE SZYNKOWSKI | Green Shoot Media

REAL ESTATE 101

House fires can develop without any
warning. Being prepared is of the utmost
importance.

Prevention Tips

Sometimes, the problem can begin in
an unseen part of the home, such as the
wiring inside the walls or in the attic. These
dangerous conditions are difficult to spot, but
there are other common problem areas where
fire can be prevented by taking proper care.

The American Red Cross offers the
following tips for heating your home
safely:
• Portable heaters and fireplaces
should never be left unattended.
Turn off space heaters and make
sure any embers in the fireplace are
extinguished before going to bed or
leaving home.

Learn the common fire hazard areas that
are probably already in the home, and know
how to look for the warning signs before fire
strikes.

• If you must use a space heater, place
it on a level, hard and nonflammable
surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not
on rugs or carpets or near bedding or
drapes. Keep children and pets away
from space heaters.

IN THE KITCHEN
According to American Red Cross, most
home fires start in the kitchen and are
usually a result of cooking. Most commonly,
these fires develop on the stovetop rather
than in the oven. Never leave your kitchen
unattended when cooking or frying on the
stovetop.
Make sure items such as curtains, papertowel dispensers and dish rags are located
a safe distance from burners. If fire does
happen to contact something near the stove, it
can quickly spread to the rest of the home.
The microwave should be in an open area,
leaving plenty of room around its vents so
it can operate safely. Every kitchen should
have a fire extinguisher readily available. It is
crucial to stop a fire as soon as it grows out
of control.
If you find yourself battling a grease fire
without an extinguisher, don’t attempt to

• When buying a space heater, look for
models that shut off automatically if
the heater falls over as another safety
measure.
Read more tips from the Red Cross at
http://rdcrss.org/1g6BLKm.

hinder it with water. Your best bet is to put a
lid on it to suffocate the flames.
APPLIANCES
American Red Cross reports that dryers are
responsible for about nine out of 10 appliance
fires. This is usually due to using a dryer
with a full lint trap. Make sure you empty it
after every load and double check it before
beginning one. This habit can save you from

disaster later.
It’s also a good idea to check other
appliances for wear on their cords or any
unnecessary heat emitting from them. If you
fear they need repair, don’t hesitate to call a
local professional for an inspection.
HEATING YOUR HOME
Seventy-four percent of fire-related
deaths involve fixed and portable space

heaters, including wood stoves, according
to the American Red Cross. Use extreme
caution when heating your home when the
temperatures drop.
Heat-emitting appliances should be at least
3 feet away from flammable items. Centralheating systems should be inspected before
use each year. General maintenance such as
filter changes should be performed regularly.

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