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Watch for Candle Fires and Stay Safe all Winter Long

December 31, 2013
Candles are used for a variety of reasons throughout the year, but in most households winter is the season for increased candle use. Most people understand that they should exercise caution when burning candles, but accidents still happen. Though the following guidelines may seem elementary, it’s a good idea to review safe candle burning policies from time to time.


Flickering candlelight leaves a soft glow over the entire room. This can have a spellbinding effect when it hits the sparkle of glass and crystal. When romantic souls do not have fireplaces, they might burn candles during a cozy dinner with that special someone.

Candles During Power Outages

Winter storms cause power outages frequently in areas that are prone to high winds. Most residents are not surprised by the loss of electricity and will stock up on flashlights and candles for the storm. Those who don’t must rely on candlelight in the event of a power outage.

Prevent Candle Fires

The U. S. Fire Administration reports that more than 55 percent of the fires that start as a result of candle use begin because the flame was too near other materials. Candles should be kept away from combustible materials, especially paper and fabrics. Those materials are not fireproof and will catch fire quickly. The flame should also be kept away from drafts.

Candle Safety

Children should never have access to candles, lighters or matches. They shouldn’t be allowed to have a candle in their room. If the lights go out, the whole family can gather into one space, so everyone can use the candles. Place candles on a level, stable surface to keep them from falling over onto combustible materials, and be sure to extinguish all candles before going to bed.

Combat Home Fires

Professionals in home alarm safety systems recommend a fire extinguisher be placed in various rooms throughout the home, but not in the basement. Extinguishers should be placed in accessible areas, so in the event of a fire, they will be easy to reach. Home alarms should be wired to smoke detectors and monitored by an alarm company. The fire department can be contacted immediately in the event of a fire that is too large to handle with a fire extinguisher.

Fire Escape Plan

Even though the home has extinguishers, there is a time when everyone should leave the house. Don’t stay and fight a fire with a small home extinguisher. Let the professionals handle it. Have an escape plan for your family and make sure everyone knows the plan. Point out the exits, so everyone knows how to escape the home. Mark a meeting spot in a neighbor’s yard for the family to gather.

When a smoke detector is wired directly into a house alarm system, the alarm company can send the fire department at the first sign of trouble. This will make it more likely that everyone in the family will get out of the house without a problem. In most cases, the resident’s possessions will be largely intact too.

Fireplace Safety with a Home Alarm Safety System in Los Angeles

November 29, 2013
As the weather gets colder, and homeowners start to fire up their wood stoves and fireplaces, the use of these appliances increases fire danger for millions of families around the country. Whether a family uses a wood stove as a primary heating source, or whether the fireplace simply provides some comfort on a mild Los Angeles night, families need to remain current on fire safety and fireplaces.

According to the United States Fire Administration, common causes of residential fires include improperly maintained chimneys and stovepipes. Homeowners must not forget to maintain fireplaces, as well as ensure their home alarm safety system is hooked up to the smoke detectors.

Soot and Creosote Prevention

One of the best ways to keep fireplaces safe is to reduce the buildup of a contaminant called “creosote” inside the chimney. Creosote can impede airflow and increase fire danger. Preventative maintenance and smart use of the fireplace should ensure low buildup during the season. For example, when a fire burns in the fireplace, glass doors should remain open. This helps improve airflow and aid in the combustion process, which reduces sooty buildup in the chimney.

In addition to taking steps to reduce the buildup of soot or creosote, a yearly cleaning of the fireplace as well as an inspection should reduce fire danger. Many systems in the home need to be inspected on a yearly basis and this includes installations such as chimneys and devices like wood stoves. The company hired to perform the inspection should specialize in chimney operation and maintenance.

Smart Habits During Fireplace Usage

A clean chimney is a safe chimney, but there are also a few things to remember about safe operation of a fireplace. For example, the fire should never be lit with a flammable liquid. Additionally, materials like cardboard and trash shouldn’t be burned, even though it might seem like a good way to recycle. Also, use wood meant for burning, not moist wood that can increase the rate of contaminant buildup in the chimney.

Additional Safety Devices

All homeowners know that installation of smoke detectors offers essential protection against fire danger, but those systems aren’t meant to sit on the wall like a decorative painting. Test the smoke detectors on a quarterly basis and make sure the home alarm safety system will notify the alarm company if fire breaks out and assistance from the fire department is needed.

Installation of a carbon monoxide detector is another essential device for homes with fuel-burning appliances, and the alarm company can suggest devices that will pair well with the smoke detectors used in the home.

Another helpful component to ensure safety of the fireplace is the installation of a thermometer in the flue to keep track of the temperature and make sure that creosote buildup isn’t causing dangerously high temperatures that could result in fire. Creosote is incredibly combustible, and if it gets too hot or thick, a chimney fire could erupt.

With an open flame burning inside a home, there is always some danger of fire even if a family has taken every necessary precaution to prevent a wayward spark from turning into a home fire. Revisit fire safety each season when temperatures dip and the family starts using the fireplace. Also, make a plan for evacuation just in case of an emergency.