Despite their incredible capacity for destruction, house fires often aren’t one of the first things we consider when thinking about potential threats to our residences and families. Frequently, our focus tends to center more on home security risks, such as burglary or home invasion. Still, it’s important that we do everything in our power to protect ourselves, loved ones and possessions against fires. Of course, this means taking the obvious measures, such as keeping several fire extinguishers across different locations in your home and ensuring that your monitored smoke alarms are in working condition. However, accounting for less widely recognized fire risks and neutralizing those situations shouldn’t be overlooked. Take a look at these three little known fire risks to learn more about what you can do to protect your home:
One of the most commonly overlooked fire hazards that nearly all homes have is dryer lint. While it may seem benign, mistreatment of your appliances can lead to a lint accumulation that can be a huge fire hazard. A mix of air-dried fabric particles, dryer lint is extremely flammable and a frequent cause of household fires. Neutralize the risk that this substance can pose to your home and family by ensuring that you always clean out your dryer’s lint trap after each individual cycle. In fact, the lint trap of your dryer won’t always catch the entirety of the material generated during a spin cycle. As a result of this, there’s a build-up of lint that accumulates within the casing of the machine itself in an area known as the “dryer cabinet.” Consider having a professional technician visit your home every few years to clean out your dryer cabinet, and always have a fire extinguisher on hand in your laundry room.
When evaluating the fire safety of your home, it’s also particularly important to consider potential risks that aren’t visually apparent. A prime example of this is your home’s electrical wiring. If you’re like most people, a malfunctioning system is likely the only thing that will alert you to problems with home circuitry and wiring. Rectify this situation by having an electrician come to your home every few years and ensure that all of your wiring is up to the appropriate city codes. A professional can let you know that there are no explicit fire risks behind your walls. While it may seem like an unnecessary expense to have these inspections conducted, they’re well worth it for the peace of mind they provide.
The fine print
It’s imperative, when ensuring fire safety in your home, that you think critically about the type of fire extinguishers you’re using. For example, the International Association of Certified Home Extinguishers explains that there are at least five main types of extinguishers, all intended for different uses. What might be appropriate to keep in your kitchen may not be the best type of extinguisher to have on hand in your garage or bedroom. Luckily, the InterNACHI has provided a handy chart to help you make these decisions. Also, contrary to popular belief, many fire extinguishers expire after a few years, so periodically check the expiration dates on your devices to ensure they’re still functional.