October means football, fall foliage, and plenty of family fun. But did you know It’s also National Fire Safety Month? On average, fires cause 3000 deaths and 15000 injuries in the US each year. And according to the CDC, children age four and under are particularly susceptible to fire-related injuries and deaths. You can help your children understand the importance of fire safety through drills, talks and safety tips.

Here at Mister Sparky® of Richmond, we want you to enjoy fall with your family without the threat of fire. Follow this Home Safety Checklist to help prevent fire and its deadly consequences.

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, as well as inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and also in the basement.
  • Make sure your home has carbon monoxide alarms on every level, the minimum protection. For maximum protection, install CO alarms inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and in the basement.
  • Make sure batteries are working in all your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Make sure alarms are tested and cleaned monthly. The only calibrated test method for the alarm is to press the test button. Vacuum the outside of the alarms. Do not spray cleaning chemicals on or around the alarms. Do not use “canned air” to clean combination alarms. It actually contains a gas that will damage the carbon monoxide sensor.
  • Change your clock and change your alarm batteries at the same time. Batteries should be replaced at least once year, or immediately if the low battery chirp sounds.
  • Do you know the difference between the smoke alarm sound, the natural gas alarm sound, and the carbon monoxide alarm sound? Make sure everyone in the home can hear and recognize the sound of the alarms and that they know the difference.
  • Do you know to press the silence button on the alarm and to never remove the battery or disconnect the alarm during a non-hazardous alarm activation?
  • Check any brackets mounted on walls or ceiling for missing alarms
  • Has it been a year or two since you experienced nuisance alarms from non-hazardous sources such as everyday cooking or steamy showers? That’s a good indicator it’s time to check the battery.
  • All smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.
  • All CO alarms should be replaced every 7 years.
  • Identify potential sources of carbon monoxide? Common sources include vehicles left running in attached garage (especially in multifamily dwellings) charcoal grill, gas clothes dryer, generator, portable heater, gas range, gas oven, gas furnace, blocked chimney or flue, fireplace, gas water heater. Never use generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside the home, inside the garage, basement, crawlspace or ANY partially enclosed area.

Call an Electrician to Safeguard Home Electric

There are a few simple steps you can take to safeguard your home from common electric hazards. If you detect an issue, don’t tackle it yourself. Always have electrical work done by a qualified electrician. Mister Sparky® of Richmond electricians are on call 24/7.

  • Only plug one heat-producing appliance (maker, toaster, space heater, etc.) into a receptacle outlet at a time.
  • Major appliances such as refrigerators, dryers, washers, stoves, air conditioners, and microwaves should be plugged directly into a wall receptacle outlet. Extension cords and plug strips should not be used.
  • Ask a Mister Sparky® of Richmond technician about installing arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) to shut off electricity when a dangerous condition occurs. Ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) should be installed bathrooms, kitchens, garages, and basements.
  • Flames aren’t the only things to start a fire! Prevent scenarios that invite heat to build up, such as a cord placed under a carpet.
  • Make sure electrical cords are not running across doorways or under carpets.
  • Ask a Mister Sparky electrician to add more receptacle outlets so you don’t have to use extension cords. Extension cords are intended for temporary use.
  • Use a light bulb with the correct wattage. Look for the light and lamp sticker that lists the right number of watts.