As much as we love spending time outside, the truth is that summer in Atlanta means cranking the air conditioning and trying to escape the heat by staying indoors. And with all those extra fans and appliances running overtime, the potential for home safety hazards—like house fires—increases.
In 2011, the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department responded to 85,423 emergency calls. Of course, not all emergencies can be prevented, but following the proper fire safety precautions can help stop some accidents from happening. Here are a few summertime safety tips you can follow:
Don’t overload your outlets— especially if you live in an older home or apartment with dated electrical wiring. It might be tempting to move portable fans into the bedroom when you’re drying your hair or into the kitchen when cooking dinner, but having too many appliances plugged in can be a fire hazard (no more than two in an outlet at once, experts say). Also, remember, electrical cords are for temporary use.
Don’t use open-flame cooking appliances (grills, smokers, etc.) too close to the home. Not only could this cause fire, but it can also be a potential source of carbon monoxide (CO) in your home. Plus, it’s the law if you live in an apartment complex. The Atlanta Fire Prevention Code prohibits charcoal burners and other open flame cooking devices on balconies within 10 feet of the home. To ensure proper protection from CO, install CO alarms on every level of the home, including the basement.
Keep an eye on what’s cooking. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires. Family picnics and gatherings in Atlanta often involve some delicious home-cooked family favorites, so if you’re preparing a dish for your next get together, make sure you keep a watchful eye on the kitchen.
Last but not least, be prepared. Make sure your home or apartment is properly equipped with the necessary number of smoke alarms – the NFPA recommends they be installed on every level of the home and inside each sleeping area. Also, keep a fire extinguisher in an easy-to-reach place in case of a small fire, and also be sure you have a fire escape plan in place.
If you need help obtaining or installing a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide alarm, call the Atlanta Smoke Alarm Program (A.S.A.P.) Hotline at (404) 546-2733.
Guest blogger Debbie Hanson is director of external affairs for First Alert, a trusted brand in home safety products.