Halloween is coming up – que the jack-o-lanterns, paper ghosts, hay bales and dried cornstalks. All these things are your classic Halloween decorations but they are also some of your classic fire risks!

Today we’re going to talk about four ways to prevent fire damage this halloween.

1.       Costumes.

When you’re picking a costume for yourself or your child, stay away from flowing and long trailing fabric. If possible, use a material that won’t easily catch fire if it comes in contact with heat or flame. Look for costumes, beards and wigs that are labelled “Flame-Resistant”. Keep in mind though… “Flame Resistant” does not mean “Fire Proof.”

2.       Candles.

It is safest to use flashlights or battery-operated candles in a jack-o-lantern. If you decide to use an actual candle, be sure to use extreme caution. Tea lights are a safer option and should be outdoors only. Be sure to keep the decorations out of the way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps and walkways to prevent tripping. Monitor children at all times when the candles are lit.  

3.       Decorations.

Ensure that all combustible Halloween decorations (such as crepe paper, dried flowers and cornstalks) are kept away from flames and sources of heat. Keep all your exits clear.

4.       Educate.

Talk to your children. Talk about the importance of walking carefully when around candles and fire. Ensure that they know what to do in the event of a fire – where to go, who to call and how to dial 9-1-1. Make sure they know to stop, drop and roll in the event that they catch on fire.

It’s fall! Take a few minutes this weekend to prepare for the weather change to prevent flooding and other property damage.

Outside your home

Downspouts

Disconnect downspouts from drainpipes and extensions to draw water away from your home’s foundation so they won’t freeze and back up. But don’t forget to reconnect them in the spring!

Roof

Did you know that icicles and ice dams are created by the heat escaping from your home, melting the snow on your roof, causing the water to run to the edge of the roof where it freezes?

When the ice builds up, it prevents water from draining off the room and soon water has been drawn up under the shingles, causing major damage to your home.

To prevents this from happening, install a leaf/ice guard to prevent debris from blocking the gutters and downspouts. This will allow the water in your gutters to flow freely.

Check the insulation under the room and add more where there isn’t enough or where it’s too compressed.

Also, check the air circulation… The air intakes in the soffits have to be clear for the roof ventilators to draw air through the soffits. A well-ventilated roof will prevent snow from melting.

Lastly, check the singles regularly and replace them as soon as they show signs of wear or if there are poorly drained areas on a flat roof.

Foundation

Check your foundation for cracks and fractures. Patch any cracks in the foundation walls or brick facing.

Water lines

Do you have a frost-free (4 seasons) outdoor faucet? If not, you need to shut off the water from the inside and drain the outdoor faucet to get all excess water out. By leaving water in the faucet, it can freeze as the weather gets cold and cause the pipes to burst.

Additionally, if you have water pipes that pass through your cellar, crawl space or exterior wall, it can cause the pipe to freeze and create enough pressure to burst.

Best practice - Place an insulated case over any water pipes that are exposed to cold.

Exterior basement entrance

Check the drain in the basement entrances for grass, leaves, dirt, or other blockages.

If this drain is blocked, it can increase the risk of water seeping in through the edges of the basement door.

 

INSIDE YOUR HOME

Air Exchanger

Clean your air exchanger filters.

Air exchangers mainly operate in the winter, and it is very important to clean the filters every two or three months. The heat or energy recovery core made of polypropylene (plastic) or aluminum should be cleaned once a year, preferably in the fall, before the heating season.

Windows and window wells

It is better to remove screens during the winter and store them in a dry, temperature-controlled environment as the screen will lock in heat in front of the window, causing condensation and mould.

Replace any damaged caulking along the edges of basement doors and windows.

 

1.       Utensils.

It’s fairly common to have a jar beside your stove with all your utensils. But what if you went the extra mile and created different jars for each type of utensils – tongs, spatulas, serving spoons, etc. Gone are the days where you’re in a rush, digging through trying to find the right utensil.

2.       Stack the snacks.

Do you have multiple boxes of snacks that the kids dig through, often abandoning empty boxes in the cupboard? Save space and make the snacks easy to access by using tiered baskets.

3.       Use Risers.

Risers give your cabinets double the surface space and can be used to store dishes, food containers and even cleaning supplies!

4.       Utilize the Drawers.

No one likes going through that drawer full of storage lids and containers when there’s no organizational system. You can purchase organizers such as this one, that comes with adjustable dividers.

5.       A System for those Measuring Tools.

Digging through a drawer full of measuring cups and spoons in search for that specific one you need. Use a cork board to hang on the door of your baking cabinet where you can hang the spoons and cups up in order from largest to smallest.

6.       Dollar Store to the rescue!

The dollar store has dozens of adorable but effective containers for your seasonings, baking needs, and other food items. Not only will your cupboard look nicer, but if you purchase clear containers, you’ll be able to see when you’re running low.

7.       Lazy Susan.

Gone are the days where you have to dig past the black beans to find that can of soup. Add a few Lazy Susan’s to your pantry and preparing for taco night will become a breeze!

8.       Shower Caddy’s aren’t just for bathrooms.

A command hook in your kitchen with a shower caddy will keep your fresh produce where you will see it and remember to use it before it goes bad. No one likes finding that pepper that sat for a little too long.

9.       Try a Towel Holder.

Install a Towel Holder to the side of your counter to help store those bulky pots and pans in an easy to access way. You can also use command hooks.

 

 

This week is fire prevention week so we want to discuss fire safety and prevention. Here’s what you need to do.

Fire Safety:

1.       Install Smoke Alarms.

Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.

2.       Test The Alarms.

Test your smoke alarms every month. If they’re not working, change the batteries. Replace the batteries at least once a year.

3.       Prepare Your Family.

Teach the children what a smoke alarm sounds like and what to do when they hear one. Talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year. Ensure all family members know at least two ways to escape from every room of your home and discuss a family meeting spot outside your home.

4.       Practice.

Create a fire drill at least twice a year. Press the smoke alarm test button or yell “FIRE” to alert everyone that they must get out.

5.       Create A Communications Plan.

Establish a family emergency communications plan and ensure that all family members know who to contact if they cannot find one another.

6.       STOP, DROP & ROLL.

Teach this to all family members in the event that their clothes should catch on fire. Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.

7.       If A Fire Occurs…

Get out, stay out, and call for help. Never go back inside for anything or anyone.

 

Fire Prevention Tips:

·         Keep flammable items at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as space heaters.

·         Smoking materials are one of the leading cause of residential fire deaths. If you smoke, take precautions such as smoking outside, use fire-safe cigarettes, never smoke in bed, if someone in the home is using oxygen or when drowsy or medicated.

·         Use deep and sturdy ashtrays and wet cigarette and cigar butts with water before disposal.

·         Talk to children frequently about the dangers of fire, matches, and lighters. Keep them out of reach.

·         Turn off portable heaters when you leave the room or go to sleep.

·         Never leave a burning candle unattended.

 

Of all the rooms in your home, the laundry room is probably not on the top ten list of areas in your home to organize. Your guests are unlikely to be in the room and other than doing laundry, it’s not a place that you would hang out in.

Here are seven organization tips that won’t take more than a couple hours but will transform how you use your laundry room.

1.       Create a folding station.

Are you one of those people who take your laundry out, put it in a basket and it lives there – unfolded – until there’s more dirty laundry than clean laundry? What if you had a specific area to fold your laundry in your laundry room? At least then the clothes are folded.

If your washer and dryer are stacked, try creating a wall-mounted, flip-down folding table.

2.       Use Your Wall.

Unless you’re blessed with a large laundry room – you’re probably tight on space. Try mounting a shelf or even a slat wall like the ones typically used in garages. Do this above your folding table to keep everything you need at an easy to reach height.

Detergents, baskets, paper towel and other laundry supplies now have a home.

3.       A place for hangers.

Need a place to put your hangers when they’re not in use? Why not find a hanger organizer like the ones typically used for a closet? This organizer can be mounted on the wall or placed on a shelf.

4.       Think Murphy Beds.

Need extra storage place? Try the inside of your walls. Ironing boards can be mounted in the wall between the studs to save space. Once you’re done with it, simply flip it up and it’s hidden.

5.       Baskets.

Without a system, you might find yourself constantly asking your children to collect their pants or claim their socks. Give every family member a bucket or basket for their laundry… But don’t stop there. Give each basket a specific place in the laundry room.

This solution allows for each grab-and-go… They might be more likely to come and collect their own laundry.

6.       Dealing with Detergent.

The days of having those plastic or cardboard containers in your laundry room are over. Try using Glass drink decanters to hold your liquid detergent and large glass jars for the powder. Using clear, glass storage will prevent you from not realizing you need more supplies.

7.       Make it spill proof!

Are you storing your household cleaners and supplies in your laundry room? You may have found that sometimes they drip or leak, destroying the beautiful interior for your cupboards. Try adding a cookie tray or a shelf liner. Get one with a design that matches your specific style or paint for added appeal.