Within minutes, a small fire can spread and grow into a deadly fire. But with a few steps, you can protect yourself, your home and your belongings. First, closely inspect your home to eliminate potential hazards. Then, use these fire prevention tips and strategies to safeguard your home.
- Protect your appliances and your home by using surge protectors.
- Do not overload circuits or extension cords.
- Check electrical cords for appliances. Cords that are frayed or cracked are potential fire hazards. Unplug the cord immediately and replace.
- Do not run cords underneath rugs or between rooms.
- Never place portable space heaters near flammable materials, such as drapery.
- Turn off space heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Do not smoke in bed or leave burning cigarettes unattended.
- Keep lighters and matches out of reach of children.
- Do not leave candles or incense unattended, and place these items away from drapes, curtains or other flammable materials.
- Do not store flammable materials, such as gasoline cans or a propane tank, in your apartment.
- Remember to never leave food unattended on a stove.
- Keep potholders and towels away from the cooking area.
- Avoid wearing loose-fitting sleeves when cooking.
Laundry Room Safety
- If possible, have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
- Avoid using a dryer without a lint filter.
- Clean the lint filter before or after each load of laundry, and remove lint that has collected around the drum of your dryer.
- Check to make sure the right plug and outlet are used, and make sure the machine is connected properly.
- If you leave home or go to bed, turn the dryer off.
Make sure there is a properly functioning smoke alarm installed in your apartment. To be extra cautious, install a smoke alarm outside of each sleeping area. These alarms can be battery-operated or electrically hardwired in your home. For renters who have hearing problems, use alarms that include flashing strobe lights and vibration. Test smoke alarms once a month, and replace batteries once a year. An easy reminder is to change the batteries when the clocks spring forward.
Though your apartment may be prepared, accidents do occur. Plan an escape route, and if you have roommates, plan for a safe place to meet outside.Have at least two escape routes planned in case one is blocked.
Fire Prevention Tips to Avoid Setting Your Apartment on Fire
During winter messy mixtures of snow and ice paired with below freezing temperatures have made it necessary to crank up the heat at home. Staying warm and toasty during the frigid winter months is no doubt a basic human necessity. But as renters get resourceful with their techniques, the risk of disaster lurks.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, how we heat our living spaces is largely to blame for the many fires that take place each year. In 2012 in the United States there were reportedly 97,000 apartment structure fires resulting in 380 deaths. If there's any silver lining, it's that the number of fire-related apartment deaths has fallen by over 62 percent since 1980, likely due to increased awareness of the risks and fire prevention strategies.
Heating your small space is a must, but the right safety precautions have to be in place to avoid a potentially life-threatening catastrophe. Below, we outline some of the main causes of apartment fires and how you can prevent one from setting your humble abode ablaze.
Fire-related home incidents caused by heating mechanisms largely take place during the winter. As long as you're using extra measures to heat your apartment, you're at risk. When using a portable space heater, keep these tips in mind:
- Anything that can melt or burn should be at least three feet away from the heater.
- Never leave these small heaters on all day or night, even when you go to sleep.
- Children and pets should not be allowed in the same area where portable space heaters are in use.
- Follow your space heater's directions exactly if you are unsure of its proper operation.
Lots of cooking and baking takes place during the cold winter months when the desire for warm, home-cooked meals is at its peak. Don’t deny yourself a hearty feast, just be mindful of how you go about it.
- Do not fall asleep while cooking. If you’re too tired, turn the meal off and finish it once you’re fully awake and alert.
- Use a timer to remind you that food is cooking. If your microwave or oven doesn't have one, use your phone, tablet or traditional alarm clock.
- Keep oven mitts and food packaging far away from the stove top area.
Although they’re not the most effective heating choice, candles are often used to set a soothing atmosphere. They also come in handy when power has been lost. But they're also known to start fires, particularly when left unattended.
- Blow out candles before going to sleep and any time you leave your apartment.
- Keep candles at least one foot away from any other objects.
- Always use candle holders and make sure that the surface is flat and away from an edge where it may tip over.
- Never use candles if an oxygen tank is in use.
- Opt for flashlights instead of candles in case of a power outage.
In general, you should be prepared for a fire emergency at all times. It may not happen in your unit, but it could take place right next door.
- Check with your apartment manager about whether or not your building has an escape plan. Knowing escape routes and alternatives ahead of time is a great thing.
- Check smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors bi-annually. Most people do this at the beginning and end of Daylight Savings Time every fall and spring.
- Always have a functioning fire extinguisher available in your apartment.
8 Tips to Prevent Kitchen Fires
Don’t let your next dinner party go up in smoke! Cooking fires are the most common cause of household fires, and you don't have to own a commercial-sized Viking range to feel the heat.
From grease spills to stray dishtowels, even a tiny cooktop in a studio apartment can set a blaze. Follow these eight tips to reduce your risks for an apartment kitchen fire.
1. Stay in the kitchen.
This may seem obvious, but, according to the National Fire Protection Association, unattended cooking is the number one cause of cooking fires. If you must leave a stove unattended, turn off the heat and move the pan to a cool burner.
2. Use a timer.
Check food regularly, whether you’re simmering, baking, boiling or roasting. Using a timer can help remind you to check on your dish.
3. Keep the stove top clear.
Keep dishtowels, oven mitts, paper towels—anything that can catch fire—away from your stovetop.
4. Dress for the occasion.
Wear close-fitting clothes, and tightly roll up sleeves, when you’re cooking. Loose clothing can come in contact with burners and catch fire.
5. Wipe up spills.
Cooking on a dirty stove, or in a dirty oven, is just inviting a potential fire. Grease buildup is flammable; clean your stove every time you cook and promptly wipe up any spills.
6. Don’t overheat your oils.
Overheated cooking oil can start to smoke and bubble up, which can cause it to spill out and ignite.
7. Wait for grease to cool before disposing.
Toss hot grease into your trashcan and it could go up in flames! Wait for it to cool before disposing of it in the garbage. Or, better yet, pour it into an old food can before tossing it out.
8. Keep your smoke detector working.
A smoke detector is an important fire safety device and your first line of defense. Make sure your landlord has installed one. And make a mental note to change the batteries twice a year, when you change your clocks for daylight savings time.