Spring Cleaning and Fire Protection
If you haven’t gotten around to your spring cleaning yet, don’t worry—we’re not here to judge. What we are here to do is offer a gentle reminder to keep fire protection in mind when you’re cleaning, organizing, and preparing for the warmer months.
We talk a lot about fire safety during the fall and winter, which makes sense given all the indoor and outdoor fires, deep-fried turkeys, space heaters, and holiday lights that tend to show up when it’s cold. But now that it’s (mercifully) warming up, there are still plenty of ways to incorporate fire protection into your spring cleaning routine. Here are a few areas to keep an eye on, recommended by us and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
First and foremost, check your smoke alarms. It’s a task that can easily go forgotten for months, but how convenient that you should change your battery once a year and spring cleaning comes around once a year. Put it on your list of chores for the big clean to ensure that it happens every 12 months. According to the NFPA, a functioning smoke alarm in your home cuts your risk of dying in a house fire by 50 percent.
The NFPA reports that an annual average of nearly 48,000 electrical fires occurred in U.S. homes between 2007 and 2011. So while you’re rooting around your living room or home office making piles of things to pitch and donate, go ahead and organize those unwieldy cords and power strips. Make sure to replace any electrical cords that are damaged or loose, and try to avoid running any cords under carpets or across doorways where they’re more likely to get damaged.
The leading cause of fires caused by home clothes dryers is a failure to clean them. So as tempting as it may be to think, “It’s fine until next time”, as you’re throwing in a load of towels, go ahead and scrape that lint out. And make sure to check the drum for extra lint or any items that may have fallen out of pockets, and keep the area around the dryer free from anything flammable like cardboard boxes and cleaning products.
Nothing says spring and summer quite like grilling out. We couldn’t agree more. But let’s not forget that grilling inherently involves fire, so there are a few things to keep in mind. Before you even turn the grill on, check the propane tank, hose and all connection points to make sure it’s not prone to any leaks. Once the grill is on, turn off the tank and burners immediately if you smell gas. If you’re using a charcoal grill, make sure you’re using charcoal starter fluid, not any other flammable liquids. And once you’re finished, let all the coals cool completely before dumping them in a metal container.
How often do any of us actually organize the cabinets under our sinks, or the black holes of our outdoor storage buildings? If you’re already cleaning the rest of the house, though, might as well put that out-of-sight-out-of-mind space on your list. Make sure cleaning supplies and things like gasoline tanks are stored in a cool, dry place, out of reach of children and pets and far from electrical cords or any other heat-producing apparatus.
While you’re at it, go ahead and make spring the time of year when you and your family or roommates go over your escape plan in case of fire. Ensure that everyone knows what to do and where to go in case of a fire, and especially if there are children in the house, do a couple practice run-throughs of the escape plan.
We hope that you find these spring cleaning fire safety tips helpful!