It’s been a snowy, rainy year in the State of Utah. The wildflowers are lush, the hills are green. Pretty!… and pretty scary if we get a hot summer. We could get massive wildfires, many which could be started by fireworks and lightening storms. What was Utah’s largest wildfire on record? The ‘Milford Flat Fire’ that started on July 6th, 2007 and ended up burning 567 square miles of Utah before it was finished. Firefighters said it was the fastest fire they had ever seen take hold and sections of I-15 had to be closed down to protect the public.
Home fires are even scarier. Thousands of people every year die in home fires and or are badly injured by those accidents. A little over 1/3rd of home fires have causes that remain unknown reports the U.S. Fire Administration. They have research that has found that cooking accidents are the number one cause of home fires (26.4%), followed by heaters (11.4%), candles (5.4%), smoking (2.1%) and children playing with matches (.04%).
If you live in an apartment building or condo complex, you should have overhead fire suppressant sprinkler systems and fire sensors in your unit. All new construction multi-unit properties must have these items, but many old, old buildings have not upgraded to a current sprinkler system. When you’re considering renting in a multi-unit complex, do look for safety concerns before you put down a deposit. A friend of mine and her son lived side by side in a big complex by the University of Utah, and both units were lost in a major fire a few years back despite the sprinkler system. Also, consider renters insurance on your possessions-it’s pretty darned cheap!
Home builders aren’t required (yet) to put in full sprinkler systems in new construction houses, although some are leaning towards that safety feature as an upgrade. Everyone knows we’re supposed to put in our own fire alarms throughout our homes, but how many of us check them periodically to see if they are working? Take out your smart phone and just put in a 6 month (repeat forever) date to ‘test fire alarms’ for your own safety.
Most of us never think about our furnaces and air conditioner units until we are using them at full blast. In most Utah homes, the furnace runs the air conditioner some how (I’m so NOT mechanical). Clean out flammable debris from around your live flame areas of your furnace and hot water heater storage room.
Also, this is a big BBQ weekend for many! Yeah! Celebrate! And celebrate safely! DON’T light your charcoal with gasoline. Don’t put your grill under your patio eaves or close to your house. Find that dusty old fire extinguisher you bought a while back, test it and keep it somewhere where you’ll remember it- in case of emergency. Clean the darned grill of old grease that could flame up unexpectedly. If you use propane, check to make sure the connections are tight. The last thing you want at a holiday party is for the paramedics and fire department to race to your home to put out a house fire or administer burn care to something other than your infamous ‘blackened’ chicken and ribs!