Presented By Chillicothe VAMC
(Columbus) – It will stop raining eventually, and for many of us that will mean it’s time to start spring cleaning inside and outside our homes. While spring cleaning focuses on improving a home’s appearance, State Fire Marshal Kevin Reardon urges Ohioans to focus on those tasks that also improve a home’s safety.
“Spring is a perfect time for a refresher on fire safety tips that you can follow year-round,” said Reardon. “Keeping fire safety in mind during your spring-cleaning routine will help prevent fires.”
Ohioans are urged to incorporate the following safety guidelines and recommendations into spring-cleaning activities:
Declutter to reduce fire risk
- Excessive storage or hoarding is a fire risk to residents and first responders.
- Remove the clutter from your home.
- Make hallways and doorways accessible and clear.
- Items should be stored at least 3 to 4 feet away from furnaces and hot water heaters.
Clear debris outside
- Dispose of branches, weeds, leaves, pine needles, and grass clippings.
- Remove leaves, pine needles, and other flammable material from the roof, gutters, and on and under the deck to help prevent embers from igniting your home.
- Remove dead vegetation from within the first 5 feet of the home.
- Move construction material, trash, and woodpiles at least 30 feet away.
Maintain your clothes dryer
- Make sure the vent pipe for your dryer is not restricted and that the outdoor vent flap will open when the dryer is operating.
- Move flammable items, such as boxes, cleaning supplies and clothing, away from the dryer.
- Clothes that came in contact with flammable substances like gasoline, paint thinner, or solvents should be laid outside to dry, then can be washed and dried as usual.
Inspect electrical cords
- Electrical cords can become damaged and frayed over time.
- Check every cord in your house. If they show even the slightest damage, replace them immediately.
- Limit the number of cords running from a single outlet as this can cause overloading to occur.
Check your grill
- Inspect your grill carefully and make sure it’s free of grease or fat buildup.
- Clean out any nests, spider webs, or other debris you may find.
- For propane grills, check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year.
Properly use and store gasoline
- Use gasoline only as motor fuel, never as a cleaner or to break down grease.
- Only store gasoline in approved containers.
- Never bring it indoors, even in small amounts.
- Make sure the container is tightly capped when not in use.
Check your smoke and CO alarms
- Replace smoke and carbon monoxide alarm batteries and test them once a month.
- Gently clean the alarms, but make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions first.
- If detectors are over 10 years old, replace them.
Incorporate these tips into your spring-cleaning routine to ensure your house is safer and more secure.
If you need assistance with hoarding or know someone who does, please contact your local health department, fire department, or Adult Protective Services at the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services jfs.ohio.gov
See additional fire prevention resources at the State Fire Marshal’s website: com.ohio.gov/fire.