FALL FIRE SAFETY
It is that time of year again, time to change your clocks back, and change the batteries in your smoke detectors!
The State Fire Marshal encourages Ohioans to make it a habit to change the batteries in their smoke detectors at least twice a year – at the beginning and end of daylight savings time.
The facts speak clearly – only a working smoke detector can save your life. By taking the time to change the batteries and by testing them monthly, you are doing more to affect the fire safety of your family and home than any other action you could take.
Firefighters still find that smoke detectors, which typically retail for less than $10, are often not present in homes or are not functional. Through March 1, 2011, 28 people have died in 22 fatal residential fires reported to the Division of State Fire Marshal. Smoke detectors were confirmed present in 10 (45%) of those fires and functioning in only 1 (5%) of the incidents.
Smoke detectors, when properly installed and maintained, provide early warning when fire occurs. For the greatest protection, install a smoke detector on every level of your home and inside each sleeping area.
Examining all major appliances is helpful part of an annual home review. While extending the life of an old appliance is financially wise, continuing to use an appliance, such as a water heater, that has been malfunctioning or shows signs of electrical damage is more risk than it’s worth. If you you think cannot afford a replacement, consider the expense caused by a house fire started by that problem appliance.
Vents are another important area to focus on. Venting for dryers, water heaters and furnaces are appealing places for animals to build nests. While they are dark and secure, animals may also be drawn to this type of shelter to escape the cooler weather of the season. Unfortunately the nests block the flow of hot air and harmful substances through the vents, and the dry materials in the nests could ignite.
Before using your furnace for the first time, it’s ideal to have it professionally serviced to ensure it’s functioning safely and properly. Uncleaned furnace filters can be a fire hazard. Another heating source, the chimney, should also be cleaned before first-time use this season. A professional chimney sweep can clean from top to bottom, ensuring no blockage along the way that could later ignite. Also, purchasing a chimney cap can keep animals an debris out. As an added safety measure, many homeowners have switched from wood-burning fireplaces to gas log systems.