Basement fire hazards pose a severe risk to homes across the country, and eradicating them should be a priority for any homeowner.
Basements commonly house many gas and electric-powered appliances, and it is the primary place homeowners store flammable materials such as paint or gasoline.
Cutting down the risk of a basement fire is essential, primarily if the space is used as a common living area. Following are steps to take to fireproof your basement and lower the chance of property damage and bodily harm.
Cut Down on Clutter
Stacks of newspaper, cardboard boxes, and other fire-feeding combustibles constitute some of the biggest basement fire hazards. To eradicate any risk that they pose, remove them from the basement and recycle them. If a fire starts, this material will contribute to flame growth and be an obstacle for people to quickly exit the space. At the very least, move all wood and paper away from burners and appliances to minimize the risk of sparks starting a fire.
Construct Emergency Exits
Unfinished basements may have only one exit – a set of wooden stairs leading to the upper level. If a fire begins in the basement and engulfs the stairs, the inhabitants have no way to escape. As a solution to this potentially dangerous situation, excavate and create accessible egress windows so people can exit through the window well. In many regions with strict building codes, this fire safety measure is required. In other places, egress windows and window wells are only essential when bedrooms are in the basement. No matter what the building code mandates, homeowners with accessible window wells can rest easy knowing they have another exit from their lowest level.
Throw out Flammables
Whenever possible, recycle paints and varnish rather than keeping them in the basement. If they must be stored in the lower level, lock them in a metal, fire-safe cabinet with their lids tightly secured. This will reduce the risk of fire as well as keep children and animals protected from harmful chemicals.
If your basement does not currently have smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, install them immediately. Check each device periodically to ensure it is in working order and replace batteries regularly. In 2010, the National Fire Protection Association reported that 40 percent of fatal home fires occurred in residences with no smoke alarms. You can save lives with this fast installation.
For gas-powered water heaters and furnaces, make sure no flammable materials are located in or around the pilot light. Schedule regular cleaning and maintenance of each so any malfunctions are repaired promptly. Check the wiring on laundry machines and look for rubber-stripped exposed metal. Replace dated electrical wires immediately to protect against sparks. Clean debris out of the chimney flue trap if it leads to the basement.
One of the most critical aspects of fire safety is prevention, but homeowners may not always have complete control of this, as in external factors like when a wildfire may cause a house fire. In all circumstances, leaving the property quickly is the primary goal.
Let Windowell Expressions Help
Basement fire hazards are no joke. If you would like to implement added safety measures to protect you and your family, Contact Windowell Expressions today to install fire-safe window wells, guaranteed to provide a swift exit option in the event of a basement fire. We proudly serve Salt Lake County in Utah.