Home Survey Could Reduce Fire Risk

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Barely five minutes into a quick walk-through of a house and College Station's Deputy Fire Marshall Eric Dotson found something that may be homes across the Brazos Valley: electrical outlets housing several plugs, trying to supply power to numerous household appliances.

Dotson urges the homeowner to immediately reduce the number of items plugged into a single outlet.

"If you put too much electricity coming through your wiring it could overload your wiring and heat it up," Dotson said. "When it heats up, it radiates into some wood or something in your attic and it could catch your attic on fire."

Dotson says this is particularly true in the case of older homes. Antiquated wiring, Dotson explains, may not be able to handle the electrical appetite of new technology even if a surge protector is used.

Another common fire hazard to be aware of is the dryer. Trapped lint in the screen and ventilation hose could heat up and start a fire.
Dotson advises the lint trap be cleaned out before every use.

During the walk-through, several smoke detectors throughout the house could be found. Dotson said they provide a great way to be alerted when it's time to get out of the house. You just have to make sure that your emergency exits are accessible.

"Make sure that route is clear you know so they can get out," Dotson said.

Periodically check the doors and windows that have been designated as escape openings to make sure they are easy to open, especially the ones that kids are most likely to use.

"Making sure your children are able to unlock the window and raise the window to get out," Dotson said. "If a screen is in the way children are usually strong enough to push it out of the window."

Dotson says these are just a few tips that can keep firefighters away, or help you get away fast, in case of a fire.