Monday, April 26, 2010

Spring Fire Safety

Spring is here once again. Flowers and trees bloom. Spring cleaning. Outdoor activities involving outdoor flames make their way on our decks and backyards. As much fun and beauty Spring brings some inherent hazards sneak their way around.

Most of the debris that accumulates over the winter months -- boxes, stacks of paper, old clothes and other useless clutter -- offer an excellent place for a fire to start.
Start by cleaning up all those newspapers. If there are too many to stack on your curb for recycling, take them to a county recycling center or contact local civic groups to see if they’ll be having a newspaper collection fundraiser soon.

Are there any old oily rags you can get rid of? This is a good time to start a fresh shoeshine rag and a new furniture polishing cloth. What about those cloths that were used to wipe up fuel spills from the snowblower or snowmobile? Get rid of them, too. It doesn’t have to be very warm in your garage or storage area for oily rags to heat up and start a fire.

Go through the attic, the basement and the closets to get rid of those things you’ve outgrown or don’t ever use. Maybe a charitable organization could make good use of some of these items. If you can’t bear to part with some items, consider renting space at a mini-warehouse or self-storage facility. At the very least, straighten things up and be sure everything is at least three feet from water heaters, furnaces and other heat sources.
(Source: Fairfax County VA Spring Safety Tips)

Here are some more easy fire safety tips that will help ensure a fire free entrance to this summer:

* Smoke detector batteries should be checked, and replaced if necessary.
* Smoke detector units should be cleared of dust.
* Fire extinguishers should be checked, and recharged if necessary.
* Electric wiring should be checked for damage, and replaced if necessary.
* Electric outlets and extension cords should not be overloaded.
* Air Conditioning units and electrical cords should be checked.
* Barbeque Gas grills (including gas hoses) and propane tanks should be inspected prior to use.
* Never use open flame devices to strip paint. This is very dangerous and is illegal.
* Never burn yard waste or trash.
* Keep outdoor debris or dead vegetation away from the house.
* Windows should be checked to make sure they open and close properly, in case they are needed as exits.
* Review your family's Fire Escape Plan.
* Fuels for lawn and garden equipment, etc. should be stored in an approved container only. Check integrity of such containers.
* Always store paint and other flammable liquids in their original, labeled containers with tight-fitting lids. Always store them at least 18 inches from appliances, heaters, pilot lights and other sources of heat or flame.
* Pesticides and chemicals should be stored in an approved container and away from children and pets.
* Winter Snow Melts should be stored away ensuring packaging remains intact and leak free. Keep stored so that children and pets cannot access.
* Swimming pool chemicals should be stored according to manufacturer guidelines.
* Oil based paints and solvents should be stored in a metal cabinet.
RULE OF THUMB: Keep all chemicals out of the reach of children and pets.

 The outdoor cookout season is in full swing now that summer is upon us. Listed here are a few helpful hints in making your outdoor barbeque a fire safe event.

 * Before each use, check hoses for signs of wear and tear, and that the connection to the tank is tight.
* Never store propane indoors!
* Remove excess grease buildup from the unit, to prevent flare ups.
* Periodically check the inside gas tubes for the buildup of spider webs that can cause blockage, causing gas to backflow into the control valves, where it could potentially ignite.
* An orange flame is in an indication that there is an obstruction in the gas tubes that lead to the burners. Flame should be blue in color.
* When igniting the grille, make sure the lid or cover is in the open position.
* Never leave the unit unattended while cooking, and keep children and pets at a safe distance.
* Always shut the tank off after each use.
* If the unit catches fire, do not attempt to extinguish it, especially if propane is burning freely. CALL THE FIRE DEPT. Propane will reignite with explosive force.
* Proper location and placement of the unit is very important. Keep the unit away from the sides or back of your home, as well as open windows. If fire occurs, it will spread to the building.
* Use common sense and read the manufacturers directions.

* Careful use of charcoal starter fluid is very important. Follow the direction on the can and never apply additional fluid once the fire has been ignited.
* The use of an electric starter or paper is an alternate method, and pre-treated charcoal should also be used.
* Place all ashes in metal cans.

Wanna take this a step further? In many communities you can call your local fire and rescue station and make an appointment for firefighters to visit your home to conduct a free home safety survey.Its only your life you are gambling with.


1 comment:

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