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Mitigation of Damages: 5 Ways to Prevent Fires in the Fall

One of the best ways to mitigate the damage from a fall fire is to check that your smoke alarm is working. 

One of the best ways to mitigate the damage from a fall fire is to check that your smoke alarm is working. 

We all know how easy fires can start in the dry heat of summer, but did you know that many residential fires in Fort McMurray and the surrounding area take place when the weather gets colder? That’s because most house fires occur in places where a heating source is used and where there is low humidity. Here are some fall-specific fire hazards and how you can mitigate the damages with preventative measures offered by Proserve DKI’s Fort McMurray fire restoration experts.


1. Check Your Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Alarms

The best thing you can do to keep your home safe from fire, and this goes for all times of year, is to make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working properly. Alarms should be placed on the ceiling away from bathrooms, heating sources, windows and ceiling fans and should be located on every level in your home. Test them every month by pressing the test button. The average alarm will require new batteries every year. Maintain your alarm by dusting it every three-to-six months.


2. Clean Your Chimney

Fort McMurray can be hit by some wintry weather in the fall. The lack of light and those high winds often make us want to stay indoors with a roaring fire. However, before you load up the fireplace or wood-burning stove and strike the match, it’s important to make sure there is nothing blocking the ventilation in your chimney.

A chimney fire often occurs when creosote deposits from the burning of wood or bituminous coal ignite or when debris such as leaves or even bird’s nests inside the chimney catch fire.

A chimney fire is extremely dangerous and often requires a home to undergo extensive fire damage restoration, as it can spread quickly and get into unseen parts of the house, including the walls, attic and roof.

The best way to prevent a chimney fire is by having it professionally inspected and cleaned every year before the cold weather hits. Once you’ve had it cleaned, start by building a small fire and use seasoned wood to prevent the build up of creosote. Avoid using paper or other combustible materials, and install a chimney liner and cap for better airflow and to prevent debris from getting inside your chimney.


3. Be Careful with your Portable Heaters

Portable heaters are great if you have an unheated shed, barn or if some of the rooms in your home are drafty, however, they can also present a fire hazard if not installed or placed properly. Property restoration services such as Proserve DKI suggest these tips for preventing fires from heaters:

  • Never leave space heaters on unattended and unplug them when not in use
  • Heaters should be kept far away from flammable materials such as curtains, blinds, blankets, bedding, cushions, furniture and waste baskets
  • Do not place your heater on carpets, cabinets, tables or other uneven and off-the-floor surfaces

Do not overload your heater by plugging it into the circuit with other electrical devices


4. Maintain your Dryer

When those autumn leaves begin to fall, we tend to fetch our warm woolly sweaters, flannel pyjamas, and thick socks to try and stay warm. These thicker fabrics tend to cause more lint when we wash and dry our clothes. According to Consumer Reports, clothes dryers cause approximately 14,630 home fires in the US.

The best way to prevent these fires is by:

  • Removing the lint in your filter and lint trap hole after every cycle
  • Inspecting your vent and exhaust duct periodically and removing any particles/dust with a long brush or vacuum
  • Replacing plastic or foil accordion ducts with those made from metal

Do not place any stained clothing with flammable materials such as paint thinner, cooking oil, cleaning agents or gas into your dryer.


5. Rake and Dispose of Leaves Safely

Fires can also take place outside your home. One of the most common causes for fall fires is when homeowners decide to get rid of garden waste and fall leaves by burning them. The best thing you can do is to rake and collect leaves and debris by placing them in bags and having them collected. Keep leaves away from any heat source such as outdoor fire pits and even motorized vehicles (exhaust systems can ignite the leaves). The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo offers both curbside pickup and a year-round drop off at the landfill for yard waste. Please note that all yard waste be placed in special brown paper yard waste bags, as plastic and compostable bags are not accepted.

For more information, read Mitigation of Damages: Preventing Outside Fires.


If you’ve experience a house or property fire, contact Proserve DKI. We offer Wood Buffalo and Fort McMurray fire cleanup as well as smoke damage and complete house fire restoration services.