A house fire can be one of the most crushing events in a person’s life. The space you’ve worked so hard to maintain and call home can be destroyed in the blink of an eye. The bitter cold winters in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids may lead you to think fires are not to worry about. However, fires are more common during the winter season with turning on the indoor heating, more frequent use of the stove and oven, and lighting candles. There are several causes of house fires, but many of them can be prevented with regular attention and maintenance. 

Fire Safety Basics

Prevention and preparation go hand-in-hand when it comes to fire safety. There will always be circumstances beyond your control but it’s important to be aware of the aspects that can be managed.

Fire Alarm Maintenance

Simply having a fire alarm in your house will not prevent flames from ravaging your home. The moment a disaster strikes, there is nothing more important than having a working fire alarm to alert you and your family of the impending disaster. Check the batteries each month and replace them twice a year for good measure. Be sure that you have your smoke and fire alarms installed properly throughout your home. 

Clean Your Dryer Duct Exhaust

Did you know your clothes dryer has a duct exhaust? The lint filter will collect a majority of the lint, but it can also get hung up in the exhaust. If you neglect cleaning the filter and exhaust, you may be inviting a dryer fire. It’s recommended to have your dryer exhaust cleaned at least once per year.

Have Your Furnace Serviced

In addition to the dryer, your furnace is likely one of the most common appliances in your home during the winter season. Regular service and maintenance from a heating and cooling professional is the best way to assure your system is running the way it was built to function. The annual maintenance is well worth the small cost compared to a disaster caused by a faulty furnace.

Sweep The Chimney

If you have an old-school heating system you’re not off the hook for regular maintenance! Perhaps the fireplace is the spot where stories are told and family comes together. Maybe you recently purchased a house because the fireplace and mantle were on your “must-have” list. Either way, don’t ruin the joy a fireplace can bring by neglecting regular professional cleaning. Keep the fire where it belongs. 

Keep An Eye On The Open Flame

In addition to having a wood-burning fire, lighting a scented seasonal candle is a great way to relax and add a pleasing aroma to your home. Be sure to not let the flame get out of control or place it near flammable objects. The holiday season comes with seasonal decorations that can easily go up in flames if you’re not careful. Think about the wreaths, stockings, Christmas trees, blankets, furniture, and other objects that are flammable. Be sure to keep these items at a good distance from any open flame.

Be Mindful Of Space Heaters

Keeping flammable items away from space heaters is just as important as it is with an open flame. A blanket, couch, or other item placed too close to a space heater can catch fire in a matter of minutes and start spreading throughout your home. Additionally, space heaters require a lot of electricity to function, an amount that most extension cords are unable to handle. Always plug a space heater directly into the wall and keep it at least three feet away from any object.

What To Do If A Fire Starts

It’s important to get out as quickly as possible, closing doors behind you when a fire starts in your home. Once you are out safely, contact 911. If you have a fire extinguisher be sure to aim at the base of the fire and sweep from side to side. Don’t try to be the hero. Fire spreads quickly and you can get trapped if you don’t act swiftly.

Recover From A Home Fire With ServiceMaster by Rice

ServiceMaster by Rice is focused on quickly restoring your home after any disaster. We offer fire and smoke restoration for residential and commercial spaces in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids. We have over 60 years of expert damage and disaster restoration experience and offices across Iowa and southern Minnesota ready to help you get life back to normal. Contact us today to schedule service.