You’ve probably heard at least one horror story about someone returning home from a vacation only to find that their house has been burnt to the ground. It’s a devastating scenario that would leave you asking, “How could I have prevented this?”
Fire safety is often the last thing you want to worry about when preparing for a vacation, but it’s critical to protecting your loved ones at home, keeping your belongings safe, and ensuring you have a house to come back to.
So, how can you avoid house fire while living your wanderlust to the fullest? Here are some tips.
1. Unplug electronics
Not surprisingly, electrical hazards are among the top causes of house fires in Utah and other US states. Most electrical fires occur due to worn-out sockets or faulty cords, switches, and receptacles. To prevent this, look for damaged cords, frayed wires, and wires with surge marks before stepping out of your home. Spotted an exposed wire? Unplug any connected device and order a replacement wire immediately. It would also help to get in the habit of unplugging electronics – lamps, TVs, coffee makers, fans, etc. –when going on vacation. This will both save you money and reduce the likelihood of a fire outbreak.
2. Place firewood and piles of leaves away from your property
Before you leave, inspect your home’s surroundings for firewood and leaves. Make sure these items aren’t lying too close to your home – if a grass fire starts nearby, these materials could quickly become kindling. Avoid dumping hot ashes near or in your home. It’s better to keep them in a metal container at a good distance from your garage and house. Also, a well-maintained lawn is crucial for preventing grass fires that could move into your home. You can find a landscaping company, a friend, or a neighbor to mow your lawn in your absence.
3. Store combustible materials safely
Another effective tip to prevent a house fire when you leave for a holiday is to store flammable items in a cool, dry place. Cosmetics like shaving cream and hairspray can be hazardous when they’re exposed to a large heat source, so make sure to store them safely in a designated storage space or cupboard. If you have propane, kerosene, and gasoline in your home, store them outside in the original containers to prevent house damage in the event of combustion.
4. Don’t forget to maintain your furnace
You also need to get your natural gas furnace serviced by a licensed ventilation and heating professional to ensure all the fittings are tight and in good condition. Plus, it’s important to clean the area around the surface to prevent leaks and pipe blockages (both of which could result in an explosion). You can use a vacuum cleaner to keep the site free from debris, dust, and dirt. And while you’re at it, be sure to extinguish any smoking materials; just don’t discard them in plant pots or on the ground as they could smolder for days undetected before starting a fire.
5. Blow out before you head out
According to the NFPA, home candles are one of the leading causes of house fires in the US. It may be tempting to light some scented candles when you go on an outing, but if you’re not careful with them, you may not have a house to return to. Make sure you extinguish any candles before you leave the house and keep them away from blankets, curtains, towels, and other objects. Burn candles only when you are home and awake to monitor them. (Pro tip: keep all burning candles at a 1-foot distance from the things that can ignite a fire, and never place them directly on a flammable material without a dish or holder underneath).
6. Invest in additional smoke detectors
Smoke detectors are one of the most important home equipment as they can timely notify you about the risk of a house fire. Consider having them installed in every corner of your living space. Also, make sure your existing home detectors have working batteries and are up to date. If a smoke detector keeps going off, dust is probably trapped inside the unit. First, clean the detector by removing its lid and vacuuming the area. Then replace the cover and press the test button to ensure it’s functioning. If cleaning doesn’t help resolve the issue, place the unit farther away from common nuisance triggers, such as bathroom steam and cooking fumes.
7. Make it look like you’re home
Although you may be away for some time, strangers do not need to know about your vacation. Prevent your home from becoming a target of suspicious fires, especially during the summer season. The best way to do this is to make your home appear occupied while you’re absent. Some tips include putting indoor lighting on a timer and having a trusted neighbor keep watch to ensure that packages and newspapers don’t pile up on the porch and driveway.
There’s nothing more devastating than losing your home to a house fire. You can replace your valuables and furniture – but not your living space. The above action steps can go a long way to ensuring a fire doesn’t break out while you’re away on vacation. But remember, sometimes accidents will happen despite taking all the necessary precautions, and you’ll want to be prepared to restore the integrity of your home. If disaster strikes, contact our Utah fire clean up professionals. When you work with our experienced team, you can count on the best service in restoring your home and future.