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Watch Out for Potential Fires

Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Let’s not forget – this guy stood in a thunderstorm with a kite and a key! To keep your Rochester home safe from fire, it’s important to identify areas, objects and circumstances that are more likely to be fire hazards.

We at ICC recommend that you actively practice prevention; keep fire extinguishers in the kitchen, garage, and by the BBQ grill. Monitor appliances that use heat or electricity. Maintain smoke detectors in the halls, bedrooms, the kitchen and the basement for another layer of protection. Here are the most common areas that fires breaks out in the home:

Cooking Appliances

Half of all residential fires start in the kitchen; cooking fires are the most common cause. Grease is highly flammable and difficult to extinguish. Never leave the kitchen when cooking with grease. A dirty oven or stovetop with accumulated grease and residue is another fire safety hazard.

Although they are convenient, microwaves can be dangerous if you heat flammable aluminum foil, Styrofoam or certain plastic containers. Double check the packaging of your leftovers before you ‘nuke’ it.

Because toasters and toaster ovens can gather crumbs and grease, clean regularly to prevent a fire. Again, never leave these appliances unsupervised when in use.

Cleaning Appliances

Compared to our grandmothers, our kitchens are technological miracles! We have so many tools to cook, grind, blend, toast, steam and froth. However, more electricity means more opportunities for malfunctions and fires. Older appliances (15 years or older) are particularly prone to fire damage; regularly cleaned/inspected and properly maintained. It’s a good idea to only run appliances when you’re at home to avoid having to deal with any safety issues or fire restoration, in the unexpected case that they overheat and/or ignite.

Clothes dryers can build up flammable lint, fiber and dust. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, each year there are around 12,700 clothes dryer fires in residential buildings in the U.S. Make sure to keep vents and filters clean by removing any lint after each use; maintain the hose connected to the back of the dryer at least once a year.

Heating elements in the dishwasher raises the water temperature and help dry the dishes. These mechanisms can overheat and catch fire, especially in older models or if the dishwasher has faulty parts.

Bedrooms and Living Rooms

In bedrooms, bedding, curtains, plush items, and mattresses make these rooms a high risk for fire damage. Mattresses made after 2007 are flame-retardant and comply with higher safety standards; consider upgrading older ones. Incorporate home fire safety by installing smoke alarms in each bedroom and make a fire escape plan that includes two ways to exit the room.

Living rooms contain many potentially flammable items, especially candles. Never leave a burning candle unattended and make sure it’s kept away from flammable or combustible objects like curtains or bedside reading materials.

Chimneys and Fireplaces

Structural problems can cause temperatures to burn too high. Chimney liners that are loose can cause burning embers to escape to combustible areas in walls, attics and roofs. Keep chimneys and fireplaces well maintained. You should have them inspected and professionally cleaned at least once a year or when there is a quarter-inch buildup of creosote or soot. Rugs, tapestries and other fabrics that are too close to the fireplace can easily ignite. Prevent this with a spark screen in front of the fireplace.

Heating Equipment

Out of site should not be out of mind. Have your furnace inspected annually by a qualified technician.  

Space heaters are really dangerous. Inspect for poor condition; faulty wiring on electrical heaters can cause an electrical fire. Improperly ventilated kerosene units can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.  Any fabrics or flammable liquids can also be ignited, keep portable heaters at least several feet away from anything that can burn.

Fire Cleanup in Rochester

You may be able to handle some of the fire cleanup on your own, such as ventilating your home by opening all of the windows and washing all of your clothes and fabric items that have been exposed to fire and smoke damage. However, for a larger cleanup, you need a professional who can put 100% attention on your home.

ICC is focused on restoring damage with as little reconstruction as possible, so property is returned to normal faster by using a variety of special equipment and procedures.This keeps restoration costs down and prevents secondary damage such as mold. ICC offers the widest range of restoration and reconstruction services in the Twin Cities area. Please contact us for more information on recovering from fire damage.


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