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news News Monday, March 12, 2018 Thursday, March 1, 2018 9:36 AM - Thursday, March 1, 2018 9:36 AM

It's never too early to start spring cleaning

Tips for keeping your home fire safe

Staff reading up on fire safety tips

When spring finally arrives, we are eager to get outdoors and enjoy the milder weather and sunshine. While we don’t want to dampen your enthusiasm for spring, we do want to caution you about some springtime issues and activities that may increase your risk for fire or burn injury. The following tips can help you to protect your family during this upcoming warm season.

Spring forward by changing the batteries in your smoke detectors

Smoke detectors are a lifesaving addition to your home. According to the National Fire Protection Association, having a working smoke detector in your home cuts your risk of fatality in half. Smoke detectors should exist on every floor of your home, in the areas right outside of each bedroom, and in the kitchen.  

To ensure your smoke detector is working in your home, it’s essential that you replace the batteries twice a year. This should be done with detectors that are wired for electricity as well, since the batteries serve as backup power during a power outage.

After you replace your batteries, push and hold the detector’s test button for a few seconds – it should produce a loud noise that will indicate that it’s functioning. You should also clear any lingering dust out of the detector to ensure it will work properly. You can further test the unit with a small spray can of smoke detector test aerosol, available for a few dollars in most hardware or home improvement stores. If you spray this into the detector, the alarm should sound within about 10 seconds, indicating that it will work in a fire. If not, you’ll need to replace it as soon as possible – even if it beeps when you push the button.

The daylight saving time changes that occur twice a year, are the perfect markers for your detector maintenance. Consider March as a time for a bit of preventive spring cleaning, maybe the most important spring cleaning task you’ll accomplish!

Clearing winter debris and readying the yard for spring

Winter storms and high winds often leave your yard looking like a tree and branch graveyard. Many homeowners choose to burn debris as a quick and cost-effective way to clear their yard. Before you burn, always check with your local fire department to ensure you’re legally permitted to do so. Some counties have restrictions on the times of day you’re allowed to burn, others require permits, and others may prohibit burning altogether.  

If you do get the all clear to burn debris on your property, never burn trash, waste or leaves as they can quickly cause a fire to burn out of control. Only sticks and branches should be burned. Do not start the fire within 75 feet of any dwelling – be it your home, shed or a neighbor’s home. Keep children inside, away from the fire. A branch, rock or untied shoe can lead to a life-threatening accident and severe burns if your child is within range of the burning debris.   

Spring also means that gardening season is starting up again, and with it, the use of chemicals like fuel for the lawn mower or liquid fertilizers, both of which are highly flammable. Stay safe around these items by storing them in a cool, dark place, and out of the reach of children. Make sure the lids to the containers are tightly secured and that the container itself shows no sign of seepage or leak. Discard any old containers that no longer hold liquids.

At the Boston Shriners Hospital, we’ve witnessed first-hand how fire safety prevention and education can help prevent the worst from occurring to loved ones. Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston treats children who have suffered serious burn injuries, many due to fires. If your child, or one you love has suffered a burn injury that is either recent or has left significant scarring, we encourage you to reach out to specialists at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston by contacting us at 844-8-LOVE-IS.