Spring fire safety tips for home, office

MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. --

Information has been provided by the National Fire Prevention Protection Association  

Spring is just around the corner in Montana, and with a new season comes new fire risks and safety concerns to keep in mind for both homes and businesses. Spring cleaning starts and outdoor activities like grilling begin. In Montana, the windy conditions create an increase danger for grass fires.

We’re dedicated to helping you keep your family and office safe, not only by providing the best in fire detection and suppression at Malmstrom, but also by alerting you to everyday fire dangers that can easily get overlooked. A change in the season is also a great time to test and inspect fire alarms and make sure appliances and electrical equipment around your home and business are still in good working condition. Thus, as you enjoy the nicer weather this spring, please keep in mind these fire safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association.

Important spring cleaning home fire safety tips from the NFPA:

Fact: Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.

Ensure smoke alarms are installed inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. Test them at least once a month by pushing the test button. Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm “chirps,” warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.

Fact: The leading cause of home clothes dryer fires is failure to clean them.

Clean the lint filter before or after each load of laundry. Remove lint that has collected around the drum. Keep the area around your dryer clear of things that can burn, like boxes, cleaning supplies and clothing.

Fact: Most cooking fires in the home involve the stovetop.

Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains— away from your stovetop. Always stay in the kitchen when frying on the stovetop.

Fact: Extension cord fires outnumbered fires beginning with permanent or detachable power cords by two-to-one.

Check electrical cords to make sure they are not running across doorways or under carpets. Extension cords are intended for temporary use. If any cords are cracked or frayed, repair or replace them.

Fact: According to an NFPA survey, only one of every three American households have actually developed and practiced a home escape plan.

Make a home escape plan. Have an outside meeting place (like a tree, light pole or mailbox) a safe distance from the home where everyone should meet. Practice your home fire drill at night and during the day with everyone in your home, twice a year.

Grilling safety tips from the NFPA:

Propane and charcoal barbecue grills should only be used outdoors. The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches, 10 feet minimum. Keep children and pets at least 3 feet away from the grill area.

Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill. Never leave your grill unattended. Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.

Charcoal grills:

There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as fuel. If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.

Propane grills:

Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off both the gas tank and the grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department. If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill. If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least five minutes before re-lighting it.

Workplace fire safety tips

Making sure your area has all needed commercial fire detection and suppression equipment, and that all the equipment is in good working condition is vital to protect your employees and property.

The NFPA requires that a thorough maintenance service be completed on all fire extinguishers at least once a year, at the time of hydrostatic testing, or when an inspection indicates a need for maintenance. At Malmstrom extinguisher servicing is required to done by a certified servicing agent. Feel free to contact the fire department for contact information.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends that businesses with 10 or more personnel have an emergency action plan in place and ensure all employees are trained on what to do in the event of an emergency. Make sure to take note of any special needs in your business, such as individuals with physical disabilities or those who speak another language. Ensure clear signs indicate fire exits and fire evacuation plans in multiple areas of the building. Make sure all employees know how and when to properly use a fire extinguisher.

Workplace fire prevention

Facility managers are responsible for turning off or unplugging equipment and appliances such as a coffeemaker at the end of the day. They should also ensure all employees understand the importance of turning off heaters and fans they may have at their desks at the end of each day. Don’t overload electrical sockets or plug extension cords together. Don’t use appliances with faulty or damaged wiring.

Be careful with cigarettes, only allowing smoking in safe designated areas using non-combustible receptacles. Make sure these receptacles are distinct from waste containers.

Keep exits and stairways clear and free from clutter. Keep papers and clutter off the floor, throwing away empty boxes and other items that could pose a fire hazard.

Following these simple fire safety tips at home and at work will help to ensure you enjoy a fire safe spring and summer to the fullest.

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