There has been a noticeable change in the seasons, the chill in our normally warmer air tangible, which signals the time to start stocking up on firewood, dusting off space heaters and digging up electric blankets. While you’re preparing to keep your family warm and toasty as winter creeps closer, here are a couple home safety tips to keep in mind.
1. Shorter days are the first real sign that winter is coming which means you will most probably leave home, and arrive again, under the cover of darkness. Be one step ahead of opportunistic criminals who will be looking to use this to their advantage, and make sure you have sufficient outdoor lighting.
2. To keep your exterior lights shining brightly throughout the season, make sure they are well maintained. Keep light fixture lenses clean from dirt and debris (especially on low sitting fixtures), check for exposed wires, change bulbs as soon as possible when they burn out, and check if any of the fixtures moved out of alignment or were damaged after a storm.
3. Ensure you have smoke detectors placed in key areas around the house. They should be installed on the ceiling or high on a wall and if you have one in the kitchen, it should be at least 3 meters from the stove to prevent a false alarm.
4. It’s advisable that you have at least one smoke detector installed on each floor. If the smoke detector units are stand alone battery operated units, remember to replace the batteries at least once a year.
5. If you’re digging up those electric blankets from the linen cupboard minimise a fire risk by checking for danger signs before use, such as fraying fabric, scorch marks, exposed elements and loose connections. Only leave it switched on throughout the night if it has thermostatic controls for safe all-night use, and remember to switch it off and unplug it in the morning.
6. When using heaters, fireplaces and candles, make sure they are clear of blankets, curtains or any other flammable fabrics.
7. Practice caution when using candles and never leave a burning one unattended. If you have young children, make sure they know not to play with fire and keep all matches and lighters out of reach.
8. Don’t overload electrical outlets and only plug in one heat-producing appliance, such as a space heater, at a time.