As chills spread across D.C., Maryland and Virginia, homeowners across the region are lighting up their chimneys for the first time this season and mulling hot apple cider. Unfortunately, these “first fires of the season” have the potential to spark danger. Debris and other residue caught in unused chimneys can clog up flues, create back drafts, and, under certain unlucky circumstances, cause house fires. October is Fire Safety Awareness Month; to that end, we wanted to share 8 critical tips to protect you, your family, and the community at large:
- Teach children good fire safety habits. Protect young children from getting access to matches, candles, stove burners and other source of combustion;
- Inspect your chimney on a regular basis. Get this work done before you use the chimney for the first time in the fall/winter season;
- Pay attention to “near accidents.” Potential fires or accidents that you managed to catch and stop in nick of time can teach you a tremendous amount about how to protect your home or business. Often these events presage real disasters;
- Take advantage of free inspections. You can get a free inspection and also obtain free smoke detectors during October. Contact your local fire department in Washington D.C., Montgomery Country, Prince George’s County, Fairfax, Alexandria, and Falls Church for details about fire department inspection schedules;
- Check your detectors. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can save your life. Make sure these devices are working properly and that they have fresh batteries;
- Set up your emergency evacuation kit. Include water, medicines, food rations, warm clothing, a list of phone numbers, and cash you might need in an emergency;
- Double-check your insurance. Make sure that your homeowner’s insurance coverage is up-to-date;
- Protect your property. Report any suspicious activity, such as potential arson or vandalism in your neighborhood, to authorities.
If somebody you love suffered an injury in a fire, or you got hurt and you believe that someone's negligence, carelessness or wrongdoing somehow contributed, call the personal injury lawyers at Regan Zambri & Long for a confidential, free consultation.
Here's more insight into how to fireproof (and otherwise protect) your home and family during Halloween: CPSC Reminds Parents How to Prevent Halloween Costume and Decoration-Related Injuries