Spring home fire safety

24 Mar 2009 |

Spring has finally arrived, and your thoughts may be turning to that dreaded annual ritual of spring cleaning. As you take a walk through your house and get that "hunny-do list" together, take a few moments to read the following safety tips to make this "spring cleanup" a fire-safe one.

Inside the house

· Clean your basement and garage of stored newspapers or other combustible items that can fuel a fire. Newspapers, cardboard, trash and other items stored in a damp, warm place may ignite spontaneously. 

· Clean, test and change your batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon dioxide detectors. 

· To help prevent nuisance alarms, gently vacuum your smoke alarm every six months. (spring forward, fall back) 

· Check your electrical fuse box; make sure you have the proper fuses. 

· Keep outdoor debris away from the house. 

· Properly dispose of oily or greasy rags ... if these items must be stored, they should be kept in labeled, sealed, metal containers a minimum of 36 inches away from any heat source. Ensure compliance with base environmental policy.

Workshops, storage areas and outdoors 

You may have flammable materials in your basement or garage. Exercise fire safety both inside and outside of your home. 

· If you store gasoline, keep it outside your home in a locked shed or garage. Keep only small quantities in approved tightly-sealed containers. Approximately 10 gallons per home. Flammable liquids are not to be stored in dormitories, billeting, temporary lodging facilities or visitor's quarters. Use gasoline only as a motor fuel - never as a cleaning agent or barbecue starter. 

· Always store paint and other flammable liquids in their original, labeled containers with tight-fitting lids. Always store them away from appliances, heaters, pilot lights and other sources of heat or flame. Always keep flammable liquids a minimum of 36 inches from any heat source. 

· Use outdoor barbecue grills with caution. Never use gasoline to start the fire, and don't add charcoal lighter fluid once the fire has started. 

· Use barbecue grills outside only - not on porches, balconies, or under overhangs or carports. Keep grills away from combustibles. 

· Barbecues should be a minimum of 10 feet away from a house. 

· When cooking outside, ensure you have a fire extinguisher, a five gallon bucket of water or a garden house readily available. 

· Check your propane grill hose for leaks and cracks and never store propane indoors. 

· Cut vegetation a minimum of 20 feet away from your house and all the way to the ground.
Marine Corps Base Hawaii