Home Safety Tips during Winter Months from AJF

When cooler weather approaches and the holidays are around the corner, everyone gathers together for parties, dinners, and family functions. This time of year is for socializing and planning, however, carbon monoxide poisoning and home fires cause a significant number of injury and death in the US. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the risks and read the necessary tips below to ensure safety is included in your social preparations.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless toxic gas produced by the burning of gasoline, natural gas, propane or wood. Here are some tips to keep your home and family safe from carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Have a qualified service professional inspect the gas fired appliances to ensure the vents are clear, there is adequate combustion air, no cracks in the furnace heat exchanger and the appliances are not back drafting carbon monoxide into the home.
  • Keep fireplaces clean, well ventilated and the damper open.
  • Do not operate your car or grill in an enclosed area.
  • Install and regularly test carbon monoxide detectors. Detectors should be installed on each floor of the home and within the vicinity of bedrooms.

Each year, many Americans experience damage from house fires. Below are important maintenance strategies for fire prevention:

  • Install and regularly test smoke alarms. They should be installed on each floor and within the vicinity of bedrooms. If they start beeping, that typically means the batteries need replacement. Do not remove the smoke alarms in lieu of replacing the batteries.
  • Keep a functioning fire extinguisher in the home.
  • Cooking is the third leading cause of fires. Never leave cooking unattended; keep towels, pot holders and curtains away from flames; and if a grease fire occurs do not use water to douse the flames – this will spread the fire. Grease fires should be covered with a metal lid or cooking sheet or sprayed with a Class B dry chemical fire extinguisher.
  • Inspect extension cords for frayed and exposed wires or loose plugs and do not run under rugs; defective electrical outlets should be replaced; installing a bulb with a wattage that is too high for the lamps or light fixtures is the leading cause of electrical fires; outdated wiring may not have sufficient capacity for modern electrical loads; and circuit breakers should be replaced every ten years to ensure they will trip when required.