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How to Prevent Fires in Your Home

There’s a cool breeze coming in. This weather gives us the urge to slow-cook a roast or maybe simmer up a soup. You will want to pull out your cozy blankets, light some candles, and stoke up a fire. The cold is beaconing us to lean into this new season. As enjoyable as approaching this time of the year can be, we’ll be the first ones to remind you how to stay safe as you hunker down. Here’s a comprehensive list of things to be mindful of that will keep you, your household, and your nest safe from fire during the winter months. 

A modern fireplace.
Before lighting your first fire of the season, make sure the chimney has been inspected and cleared of devris.


Fire Safety in the Home: 

Did you know 45% of home fires are in the fireplace when Americans use this heat source to keep warm in the fall? 


1. Have your chimney serviced before the first use of the season.

2. If you use a space heater, make sure that it operates away from any flammable materials like curtains, couches, and blankets. Your space heater should have an automatic off feature if it is knocked over.

3. Never leave the home (or fall asleep!) with a fire burning in the fireplace or with candles lit.

4. If your home has any exposed wiring or an outlet with questionable appearance, hire a professional electrician to correct the wiring.

5. Check that smoke detectors are functioning properly. Every room should have one!

6. Know where your electrical panel is located and how to operate it. If you have gas, know where your gas shut-off valve is and how to close it.

7. Vacuum out your drier vents and make sure the piping is never kinked. 


Fire Safety in the Kitchen: 

Did you know most home fires start in the kitchen and are cooking-related?


1. Keep your oven clean from grease and leftover food that may have boiled over.

2. Never store flammable items in or on top of the oven.

3. Store a fire extinguisher to be easily accessible near the oven.

4. Never leave food unattended on the stove or in the oven.

5. Update your appliances if they are broken or have exposed wiring

6. For those of you who grill, no matter the weather, don’t fire up the gas grill near flammable structures.

An unfocused image of holiday lights inside a home.
Unsupervised lighting plus dry tree needles can lead to fires. 


Fire Safety During the Holidays: 

Did you know it only takes 3 seconds for a small flame to become a major blaze? Most fires on holidays start from a candle as the heat source. 


1. Again, never leave cooking, fireplaces, or candles unattended.

2. Update all decor lights with LED. Especially important for Christmas trees, decorative lights, and electric candles.

3. Remember, DC does not allow fireworks or bonfires. 


Fire Safety in Apartments and Condos:

1. Never prop hallway doors open. These doors are designed to contain the fire and avoid spreading to other parts of the building. 

2. If a smoke detector appears to be broken or a fire extinguisher is missing, let your building manager know right away.

3. Be sure to follow your building/HOA rules about fires and stoves in outdoor areas, including private balconies.


We hope you have a safe and enjoyable fall and winter! Happy homes make for happy residents, who cultivate strong, local communities that sustain our city, DC. Check out our other posts for more happy home content!



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