Basement fire hazards pose a serious risk to homes across the country. 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 important, especially if the space is used as a regular 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
Remove stacks of newspaper, cardboard boxes and other fire-feeding combustibles from the basement and recycle them. If a fire starts, this material will contribute to flame growth and will be an obstacle for people who are attempting to exit the space quickly. 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.
Here is a sensible solution: 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 the lids tightly secured. This will reduce the risk of fire as well as keep children and animals protected from the 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 important aspects of fire safety is prevention, but homeowners may not always have complete control if this, as in cases of external factors like when a wildfire may cause a house fire. In all circumstances, leaving the property quickly is the main goal.
Contact Windowell Expressions for installation of fire-safe window wells guaranteed to provide a swift exit option in the event of a basement fire.