We do know that most home fires are caused by cooking, but an additional source of residential fires is related to another frequent household activity – doing laundry.
This recent article from Caldwell County, North Carolina has some excellent advice on how to prevent a dryer fire in your home.
Many times, it starts in the kitchen, but this time it was in the laundry room. The fire in Caldwell County started inside the dryer. You might think as long as you clean off the lint screen regularly, you're safe. That's not the case - and if you use dryer sheets, just cleaning off the lint screen isn't enough.
Dryer Sheets Require Special Attention
"They release by heat and it becomes like a glue to the filter screen when it cools back off, and it can clog your screen without you really being able to see it," said Fire Cpt. Mike Simmons of the Greensboro Fire Department. About once a month, Cpt. Simmons recommends actually cleaning off the lint screen with soap and water to remove the leftover residue from the dryer sheets. "When the air can't ventilate, it just keeps building up heat," said Cpt. Simmons.
Pulling the dryer out from the wall and getting behind there with a vacuum is key in fire prevention. Don't be afraid to vacuum out the hose either. For a family of four, vacuuming behind the dryer twice a year is recommended. Cpt. Simmons told News 2, "You can do it yourself. You can take the front and back off of a dryer and vacuum the dryer out to remove the lint from it."
More Good Dryer Safety Ideas
- Don't run the dryer when no is home.
- If it overheats, not having someone there to turn it off could cost you your home.
- Even if you have a newer dryer, Cpt. Simmons explained that the age of an appliance doesn't guarantee safety. A general maintenance plan will keep you safer than just buying new dryers every few years. Cpt. Simmons told News 2 that it gets between 200 and 300 degrees in your dryer. The more lint, the hotter it can get.
Timely Home Fire Safety Tips for Summer
And just because many home fires happen in the winter, and are related to supplementary heating devices, that doesn’t mean that fire departments take the summer off. On the contrary, firefighters are hard at work throughout the year, and the summer holds its own set of home fire safety challenges as evidenced by this article from Los Angeles.
While much attention has been placed on recent wildfires in the West, experts Tuesday warned there could be a grave danger right in your own neighborhood this summer, stemming from barbecue grills, overloaded electrical cords, and backyard fireworks.
More Danger Than We Realize
Nationwide, home fires cause on average more than 2,500 deaths a year, according to the U.S. Fire Administration and the National Fire Protection Association. The rise in temperatures only adds to the slew of concerns. “It’s scary,” said Captain Philip Hershey of the Los Angeles Fire Department. “As a captain, the last thing we want to be doing is pulling bodies out of these houses.”
Los Angeles is responding to a record spike in fatal house fires this year with a door-to-door campaign that looks for homes without smoke detectors. Firefighters say that in seven of the city's nine recent fatal cases, there was not a single functioning smoke detector inside the home. According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than 5 million households don’t have smoke detectors. Firefighters advised that in addition to a smoke detector on every floor, households with elderly relatives or children should also have a carefully rehearsed escape plan.
Monitored Fire Detection Devices
At FrontPoint, we recommend at least one monitored smoke/heat sensor for every system we sell. The main reason is that your standard smoke detector is really just a noisemaker. Yes, it’s much better than nothing, but don’t you want to know the fire department is being summoned as soon as possible? You may be away – or, much worse, overcome by smoke in your own home. That’s when you definitely want a system that quickly reaches the people who can help.
We’re happy to provide this valuable information on fire safety, and we hope you have a safe (and fire-free) summer!