Vacation is just around the corner. You’re busy making plans and daydreaming about your well-deserved time off. As you count down the last few days, you probably aren’t thinking much about home fire safety.
Did you know that the average home deals with five fires over a lifetime?
That’s a sobering statistic, and it’s even more disturbing to imagine what can happen while you’re gone. You don’t want to come home to a devastated house that needs extensive fire damage restoration.
Here’s Your Vacation Home Fire Safety Checklist
This year, set aside a little time, and go over our vacation checklist to make sure that your home stays safe while you’re away.
A Detailed Overview
1. Update Your Home Security Network
If you have a home security system, consider updating it with the latest technology. Today’s wireless networks let you stay connected with the house while you’re on the road. If a fire breaks out, you receive an alert on your smartphone, so you can call the fire department right away.
2. Share the Watch with Neighbors
Ask one of your neighbors to watch the house and alert the fire department in case of an emergency. Let them know your schedule, and give them your contact information. Offer to return the favor when they take their vacation.
3. Confirm the Electrical System
Take a look inside your home’s main circuit box. If you see any dark areas that appear to be scorched, call an electrician right away. Circuit breakers are your first line of defense against electrical surges, so it’s very important to make sure that this equipment is in top shape.
4. Get Your Furnace Inspected
If you’re traveling during the winter, have the furnace inspected before you leave. A faulty pilot light can quickly turn into a house fire disaster especially if there are flammable materials or products nearby. Always check and clear an area at least 3 feet around the furnace.
5. Don’t Forget the Water Heater
Give your hot water heater the same kind of attention. A professional inspection confirms that the pressure relief valve and vents are working properly. A plumbing technician also examines gas and electrical lines for wear or damage that can turn the heater into a dangerous fire hazard.
6. Check Fire Sprinkler Systems
If you protect your home with a fire sprinkler system, have it inspected a few days before you leave. It needs to be checked at least once a year, so schedule an annual service call as part of your pre-vacation routine.
7. Unplug Vampire Electronics
Unplug all non-essential electronics. A lighting strike or heavy electrical surge can race through your home’s wiring and quickly start a fire. This tip also holds down the electric bill.
8. Turn Everything Off
Make sure that appliances like stoves and space heaters are turned off. This simple check is easy to overlook when everyone’s busy loading suitcases. It only takes a few minutes, and it can save your home from a devastating fire.
9. Feel for Smoldering Cigarettes
If anyone in the family is a smoker, look around the house for smoldering ash trays right before you leave. A cigarette can appear to be out and still spark a flame. If an ash tray isn’t empty, place your hand over it. You can instantly feel the heat from a still-burning cigarette.
10. Inspect Lights on Timers
Timers that turn lights off and on help discourage break-ins. However, inspect cords and outlets for signs of wear that could compromise safe operation. Check bulbs to make sure that their wattage doesn’t overload fixtures.
11. Close Doors, Contain Blazes
Close all the doors in the house including entrances into closets and storage areas. In case there is a fire, this strategy helps contain the blaze and slows down the spread of flames through your home.
12. Take Time for a Final Walk-Through
Double-check your checklist. Take a walk through the house to make sure that you haven’t overlooked anything. It only takes a few minutes, and the time you spend pays off with peace of mind as you pull out of the driveway.
Helping You Stay Safe
You deserve to enjoy your vacation. We hope that our checklist gives you a sense of security as you finalize plans. If you have any home fire safety tips that you’d like to add, just let us know through our Comments Section.
We enjoy developing lists and guides that help you stay safe at home and work. If disaster strikes, you can count on ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba for an emergency response 24/7.
You can depend on our teams for expert fire damage restoration all across Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. We’re always here for you.