January – Check that all of your space heaters are at least three feet away from things that can burn, such as curtains or stacks of newspaper. Checking these appliances should remind you to always turn off heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.
February – Develop a fire escape plan for your family that identifies two exits out of every room and establish a meeting place outside. Practice makes perfect – hold a family drill after you have completed it and do so again every six months. Mark it on your calendar to run through your fire escape plan again in August.
March – Start your Spring cleaning early and make your house safer at the same time! Clean out all unnecessary clutter that may become combustible material. Check corridors and stairways to make sure they are free of obstructions in case you need to exit quickly. Remove and recycle or throw out anything not needed from the attic, basement, garage and in closets.
April – This month is a good time to check all of your electrical outlets, extension cords and power strips. Be careful not to overload them. Overloaded electrical systems invite fire. Dimming lights when an appliance goes on, a shrinking TV picture, slow heating appliances, or fuses blowing frequently require a call to a qualified electrician to get expert help. Check all wires and cords for damage and cover all unused electrical outlets. Also make sure that you are not using light bulbs with a wattage too high for the fixture. Look for labels that state the maximum safe wattage.
May – Check that your kitchen is set up safely. Move things that can burn such as dishtowels, paper or plastic cup stacks or holders and curtains to at least three feet away from the range top. Clean your range hoods and ducts out and clean all appliances so they are in good condition. Remember to never leave your kitchen when cooking. We know it is Spring and you are happy to be outside but think safety first!
June – Summer is here and it is time to check on your gasoline storage. Move all gasoline outdoors and leave it there! Make sure that all of your gasoline supplies for your weed eaters and lawnmowers are stored in a shed and in an approved container. Remember to never use gasoline for anything other than a motor fuel. While in the shed, check that all of your volatile chemicals such as fertilizers and turpentine are tight in their original containers and locked away in your storage area.
July – Find a safe place for matches and lighters. A locked cabinet is the best idea. We know you want them handy for your bar-b-que but it just isn’t safe to leave them around. Remember they start fires! It only takes a second for a curious child to get a hold of one of these. One-fourth of all fire deaths of children are from fires started by children. Take the initiative to keep them, your loved ones and yourself safe.
August – It’s bar-b-que season so it is a good time to check that your grills are at least three feet away from other objects, including the house and any shrubs or bushes. Remember that when using your bar-b-que you should never leave it unattended. Anyone using the bar-b-que should be told that if you need to use a match to light it then strike your match first, before you turn on the gas.
September – Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and test them monthly. Safety Councils have also recommended installing additional smoke alarms inside bedrooms. Check the batteries and dust all of the smoke detectors currently in use in your home. Fresh batteries or a new alarm are a lot less expensive than a new home! Not to mention the fact that proper working smoke alarms cut your risk of dying in a fire by half.
October – You may want to start using your fireplace soon but first you should make sure it is safe to do so. Have your chimney inspected by a professional and have it cleaned to remove combustible build-up if necessary. Check to see you have a chimney spark arrester to prevent roof fires and if you don’t then have one installed. Make sure you have a sturdy fireplace screen to prevent sparks from flying. Take a look around your fireplace and remove any flammables such as newspapers, kindling and matches that may be near the front of your fireplace.
November – Do a fire extinguisher check this month. An extinguisher remains your best bet if they are right where you need them when the fire begins. Therefore, the best places to mount them are in your kitchen, garage and workshop. Make sure you and everyone in your house has been shown how to use one before there is an emergency. All family members should know that an extinguisher is only used for small fires and in the event of a large fire they need to get out immediately and call 911 from another location. Double check that everyone in your home knows this.
December – This month is a safety check on candles. Take a tour of the house and make sure that all candle holders are made of material that won’t catch fire, such as metal, glass, etc. Make sure they are sturdy and not close to anything flammable. Make sure that there are no candles or incense stored in children’s bedrooms. Make sure anything used to light these items are locked away. The holiday season is a time where it is easy to become distracted by festivities and candles can become forgotten. Have a safe and happy holiday season by putting fire prevention first.