If you’re planning a home maintenance or renovation project, don’t let your dreams go up in smoke before the work is finished. Fire—including spontaneous combustion—poses a real and dangerous risk.
Because approximately one-third of house fires are caused by a third party working in the home, homeowners should educate and supervise all contractors to avoid potential fire hazards. Safeguard your home by sharing these 10 simple fire safety tips with your contractor, or other workers.
Oil- and solvent-soaked rags will spontaneously combust, even under normal weather conditions; the warmer the weather, the quicker the rags can reach ignition temperature. Used rags or wiping cloths should NEVER be allowed to pile up around a house, garage or construction site.
Paints and solvents should not be kept near heat-generating equipment such as furnaces, water heaters or vehicles.
Waste material, packing materials, wood shavings must be removed daily. DO NOT:
Ask that all flammable paints be kept off the site if possible.
Space heaters account for 43% of U.S. home heating fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Flammable items placed too close to a heater are the most common cause.
Smoking is the single most common cause of fire-related fatalities. This also applies to e-cigarettes and vaping devices.
Make readily accessible firefighting equipment such as fire extinguishers, hoses, hydrants and emergency water tanks—and make sure everyone knows how and when to use it. Water extinguishers should not be used on electrical fires, for example.
In the event of a fire, determine who will be responsible for calling the fire department, who will deal with the fire, and who will set the evacuation plan in motion.
If gas cylinders are being handled, ask that they are safely secured in an upright position and fitted with a regulator and flashback arrester.
Hot work involves working with ignition sources near flammable materials, such as welding, soldering and cutting. Make sure your building team clears the work area of combustible material and that wooden floors are properly covered before doing any hot work.
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