8 Fire Safety Tips for Basements
In addition to potential flooding and water damage, your home’s basement is also vulnerable to fires. Because of the heat-generating equipment they often hold, basement fires can spread farther
and cause more injuries and damage than fires that start in other areas of your home. Add to that the possibility that a basement fire could easily go undetected for a time, and you’ll gain a greater appreciation for the importance of following these eight fire prevention safety tips. Sleep soundly at night, knowing that you are protecting your home and its occupants.
1. Install a smoke alarm.
Once installed, test the alarm and clean it once a month to ensure it works properly all year along. Connecting your basement smoke alarm to other alarms throughout the house will allow you to hear the warning signal even while you are upstairs or asleep.
2. Install a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm.
In addition to multiple smoke alarms, your home should also be equipped with a CO alarm, notably if you have heating equipment in the basement that burns oil, gas, or wood.
3. Keep flammable materials away from heating equipment.
Combustible materials like paper, textiles, and debris should be stored at least three feet away from heating equipment (furnace, wood stove, oil burner, water heater, etc.). Store oil rags in airtight containers away from heat sources, and don’t keep any trash in the basement.
4. Plug major appliances into wall sockets.
Your big appliances, such as washing machines and clothes dryers, should be directly plugged into wall sockets, and not run through extension cords or power strips. An overloaded extension cord or power strip overheats easily and can start a fire.
5. Clean lint filters.
Clean the lint filter on your clothes dryer before or after every load of laundry. Also, remove any accumulated lint from around the drum and have the vent ductwork cleaned every year.
6. Equip your basement with arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs).
AFCI devices prevent fires from starting in electrical switches by shutting off the circuit when an unintentional arc (discharge of electricity) occurs within the circuit.
7. Keep burner access doors shut.
If they are in the basement, another fire safety tip is to keep the burner access door on your gas water heater or gas furnace closed. That will prevent flames from escaping and starting a fire.
8. Keep the stairs free of clutter.
Keeping your basement stairs clear and clutter-free will help ensure a quick exit in the event of an emergency. Also, be sure to create a secondary escape plan if the stairway gets blocked during a house fire.
Dealing with the aftermath of a house fire is a life-changing experience that no one should ever have to go through. Using these basement fire safety tips should help ensure that your family stays safe and fire-free for many years to come.
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