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Posted in Safety Tips on October 8, 2018
In honor for Fire Prevention Week, the West Virginia personal injury attorneys at Manchin Injury Law Group want to remind the community preventing a fire often takes just a few simple steps and precautions. The more you know about fire prevention in your home, the safer you can keep your family and property. Autumn and winter come with unique fire hazards, from dead leaves to Christmas trees. There’s no better time to improve your fire safety than at the start of the season. Use this list of six fire prevention tips to keep your family safe all year long.
Space heaters cause thousands of house fires, injuries, and deaths each year. In one year alone, firefighters determined space heaters to be the source of 56,400 house fires. These fires caused 1,600 injuries and 560 deaths. It takes just three minutes for a fire to become life-threatening, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). It’s very important to double-check all space heaters, furnaces, heating systems, and other components before using them for the first time this season. Hire a professional to inspect your appliances and electric system for you.
The most common reason space heaters cause fires is faulty wiring. Old or used heaters may have damage or wear and tear that makes them unsafe for use. Purchase space heaters new, not used, to make sure they don’t have damage that makes them unreasonably dangerous. Check for space heater recalls before purchasing a new appliance. For example, Vornado Air recently recalled all VH101 electric space heaters due to a malfunction that could cause them to overheat and start fires. One man in Missouri lost his life because of a defective Vornado Air space heater.
Smoke inhalation causes most fire-related deaths, not the flames themselves. Many people who pass away from smoke inhalation do so in their sleep, before they can wake up and realize the house is on fire. The best way to prevent this type of tragedy is to turn all space heaters off at night, while you’re sleeping, and while the house is unattended. Leaving heaters running increase the risk of an undetected fire while everyone is sleeping or away from the house.
Fires start when a source of heat sparks something combustible. Open flames aren’t all you need to worry about in fire prevention. Keep flammable materials (curtains, bedding, holiday decorations, etc.) away from all sources of heat, including light bulbs and heaters. Take a good look around your home to spot potential fire hazards, such as a couch sitting too close to the furnace. Remove all possible sources of a house fire to minimize your risk.
The dryer vent, or the area where your appliance attaches to the duct (not the lint tray), can cause house fires if it becomes clogged with lint and debris. Lint is extremely flammable and can go up in seconds if exposed to sources of heat or fire. Letting laundry lint build up in your dryer vent could put your family at risk of a house fire. Take time every few months to clean out the lint trap using a vacuum or brush to prevent this hazard.
Exterior home care is just as important as taking care of the interior when trying to prevent a house fire. Letting dried leaves buildup in your gutters, for example, could increase the risk of a conflagration. Clean your gutters regularly, especially during fall and winter when the trees drop leaves and other debris onto your roof. Rake dried leaves away from your lawn for added home protection. Clean your chimney before lighting the first fire of the season. Cracked mortar or debris/nests in your chimney could start a house fire. Have a professional inspect your chimney for potential hazards and make repairs as necessary for a safe, fire-free winter.
Applying these six tips can help prevent fires in your West Virginia home. If you or a loved one experienced a burn injury, like one from the H101 electric space heaters, our West Virginia burn injury lawyers may be able to help. Contact Manchin Injury Law Group today to learn more.