Summer Fire Prevention Tips

Summer is typically a care-free time when we think about kicking back and relaxing. For some, that may involve firing up the backyard grill, while others may enjoy kicking back in the cool of an air-conditioned room. No matter how you choose to enjoy your summer, there are a few tips we want to share to help make sure your summer is unforgettable for the right reasons by cutting down on hazards associated with the increased risk of house fires.

Grill Smart
Propane and charcoal grills both come with their own unique fire risks. Improperly handled propane tanks can ignite, causing a fire that can quickly spread from a home’s deck or porch to the main structure. Drifting embers from charcoal grills can land on nearby roofs or awnings and can quickly turn from harmless ash to rapidly growing fires in no time. Make sure you always have a fire extinguisher handy to quickly put a stop to any small fires that may start before they turn into a big problem. If you’re cooking with wood or charcoal, a bucket of water poured over the coals after you’re finished cooking can safely and effectively eliminate the risk of drifting embers.

Don’t Overloaded Outlets
From window AC units to box fans, there are several portable ways to make sure your home stays cool during the sweltering summer months to choose from. However, portable cooling units can overload your home’s electrical system, causing malfunctions and short circuits. To reduce the risk of a devastating fire due to a malfunctioning cooling appliance, never leave a portable AC unit or fan running when you’re not home.

Maintain AC Units
AC units need regular service and maintenance to ensure they’re in tip-top condition. This not only increases the efficiency of your unit but also helps prevent malfunctions that can lead to a fire. Plug-in units need to be inspected for frayed cords and faulty parts. Never store flammable materials near an AC unit, whether it be a portable unit or a central AC unit.

Unplug Electrical Appliances Before a Vacation
If you’re planning on heading off on a summertime adventure, make sure your to-do list before you leave includes unplugging appliances. Some appliances, such as your refrigerator, should be safe to leave plugged in, but anything that’s not necessary, such as your stove, computer, or television, can and should be unplugged. This also goes for plug-in air fresheners and night lights.

Be Aware of the Potential for Attic Fires
Attic fires tend to increase in the summer due to lightning strikes, drifting embers from bonfires & grills, and consumer-grade fireworks. While not all of these are completely preventable, it is good to be vigilant during times when these hazards may be present.

No matter how vigilant you are about fire safety, fires can and do still occur. A good home sprinkler system can go a long way in making sure most fires are put out before they spread. Whether you are interested in installing a new sprinkler system in your home, or you are in need of maintenance or confidence testing for your existing system, give Columbia Fire a call.