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Tis the Season for Fires & Fire Prevention

Recently, we sent out an email to our clients regarding fires caused by Christmas lighting.  Today, in SoCal and around the country, we are 10 days from Christmas Eve, and it’s cold and dry. 

And, that’s FIRE SEASON!

So, I want to bring to you 3 life & property saving tips.  The home and lives you may save could be your own and your family!  And, at this time of year, the number of family members often swells up, in numbers, so the proper use of the following electrical & gas equipment becomes more important and requires addressing.      

1.      Again, the Christmas Lights.  Please don’t leave them on 24/7.  Not only can the trees light up as they get dryer (make sure to water them and poke holes in the tree below the water line to allow the tree to “drink” & slow down the drying out process), but the home can light up from the lights that are surrounded by paper & static electricity!  Don’t rely on relatively cheap electronics to function 100% all of the time; that’s a decision that has led to many disasters. 

2.     Maintain Your Clothes Dryer!   According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, there is an average of 7,000 annual residential fire losses in which the source of the fire is in the clothes dryer or vent. Dryers are the third most common type of equipment involved in fires, ranking behind stoves and fixed area heaters. Clothes dryers can catch fire due to excessive lint buildup in the exhaust pipe or inside the dryer; this lint buildup is often out of sight. As a result, you should take the following steps to reduce the chance of your dryer starting a fire.

  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions when installing the vent pipe.  Or, better yet, have your regular service company do it.
  • Keep the dryer vent clean and unplugged. Check for a plugged vent if the dryer does not dry clothes efficiently.
  • Remove and clean the lint screen before each use.  It also makes your clothes come out looking smart!  We know that this can be a problem with children and teens who use the machines; “encourage” them to act wisely (tactful remarks about cell phone use usually does the trick).  
  • Keep all combustibles away from the clothes dryer.
  • Consider hiring a qualified technician to periodically inspect gas clothes dryers.  It’s cheaper than your deductible.
  • (thanks to our friends at International Risk Mgt. Institute for these suggestion, which I’m sure they borrowed from somewhere else. Copyright 2013 International Risk Management Institute, Inc.)

3.     One of our clients and good friends told me about his actual experience with something we had seen occasionally:  Fires resulting from the over- and extended-use of built-in ceiling fans & vents in bathrooms and kitchens.   One of his rental homes sustained quite a bit of damage by the over-heating of a bathroom fan.

  • These little pieces of electronic machinery work great at sucking out odors and cooking vapors. 
  • But, they are not – and never were – intended to run for hours upon hours. 
  • They get hot, and in dry air – and with a lot of static electricity, they can cause a very severe fire in your walls and ceilings, potentially taking out the home and everything in it including Christmas presents.
  • If you must, post a cute sign reminding those exiting the bathroom to turn off the fan. 
  • We also recommend the strategic use of air fresheners; pumpkin, spice, and various Christmas scents are great during the Holidays.
  • And, that way the only thing that gets cooked is the Turkey or Ham.       

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!


Photo -© Oleksandr Moroz - Fotolia.com

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