Spring-cleaning is an annual ritual for many people.  Just as the first Robins of spring usher in a new beginning for nature, our spring-cleaning habits signify a fresh start for us after the long winter months.  State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci suggests that Spring-cleaning can take on another meaning. “It’s the ideal time to check our homes, porches, garages, sheds and yards for dangerous materials and unsafe conditions and to spend some quality time to protect our families and properties.” 

Start by taking a few minutes to plan your safety clean up day.  You will want to check each room in your home, including the attic and basement.  Also, don’t forget the garage, yard and storage shed.

     Plan to do several different things:

     1.  Remove All Hazards:
              Check and correct things such as:
                      Frayed or damaged appliance cords, wiring, fuses or breakers.
                      Piles of rubbish, trash and yard debris.
                      Remove stacks of paper and magazines and place them in recycling containers.
                      Check for water leaks, especially near electrical appliances.
                      Check for adequate clearance between heating appliances and combustibles.                                             
     2.  Properly Store Flammable Liquids and Home Chemicals:
                      Make sure that gasoline and cleaning fluids are well marked and are out of the reach of children and pets.  Store in a cool, dry place outside the house.
                      Clean up work areas.  Put dangerous tools, adhesives, matches or other work items away and out of any child’s reach.
                      Make sure that all chemicals are kept under lock and key and out of reach of children and pets.
     3.  Check Fire Protection and Safety Equipment:
                     Test your smoke alarms and CO detectors.  Do It Now while you’re thinking about it.
                     Make sure all doors and windows open easily and are accessible for fast escapes.
                     Make sure your street numbers are posted properly and are clearly visible.
                     Check and make sure you have a working flashlight and battery-powered radio for the approaching storm season.
     4.  Plan Your Escape:
                     Sit down with your family and make sure that everyone knows what to do in the event of a fire by designing a home escape plan.
                     Make sure you have two ways out of every room and that you have a meeting place outside the home for the whole family.
                     Practice the plan at least twice a year.  Even the best plan is not any good if you don’t take time to practice it!
     5.   Remove Outdoor Debris:
                     Clear away dead leaves and brush from the outside of walls of your home and other structures.
                     Eliminate clutter under decks, porches and stairs.                    

You can do a lot to protect yourself, your family and your property.  In fact, you are the key to your safety.  A little time spent on simple common sense prevention will do a lot to make your home a safer place to live!