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House fires can start from simple, everyday household activities, especially during the summer months when barbecues and fire pits are lit up every night, causing millions of dollars in insured losses. In honor of National Safety Month, Servpro Industries offers a few safety tips to keep summer activities fun and safe.

“While most homeowners take at least the basic steps to protect against a fire, there are fire sources in homes that are frequently overlooked,” says Rick Isaacson, executive vice president of Servpro. “For National Safety Month, we want to shine a spotlight on some of the causes of home fires associated with the coming summer season.”

Clothes Dryers
These everyday appliances are responsible for approximately 15,500 home fires and an average of 10 deaths each year, resulting in over $84.4 million in damage, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). With warmer weather causing dirty laundry to pile up even faster, help prevent dryer fires by:

  1. Controlling lint buildup on the lint filter, the back of the machine and in the venting system.
  2. Replacing plastic or vinyl vent hoses with a rigid or flexible metal venting system.
  3. Drying only items that are approved and safe to be put in a dryer (not foam-backed rugs or athletic shoes).

Fire Pits
Fire pits need to be handled with caution, especially since they’re often used in social settings where it’s easy to neglect taking care of the flames. Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) recommends keeping the glow confined by:

  1. Keeping these fireplaces at least 10 feet from any structure or flammable items.
  2. Placing the unit on a solid surface, in an open area, away from overhanging trees or rooflines.
  3. Never leaving the fireplace unattended. Keep a fire extinguisher close at hand, avoid using lighter fluid to start or restart the fire and ensure any embers are completely extinguished before going inside.

Gas Grills
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fire departments in the U.S. respond to an average of 8,200 grilling-related fires per year. Five out of six grill fires involved gas grills. Outdoor chefs, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Position the grill outside, at a safe distance from the house. Never grill inside a garage or enclosed porch or under a breezeway, awning, carport or overhang that might catch fire.
  2. Check the grill’s propane hoses for cracks and brittleness then trickle soapy water over the hoses and fittings. Look for bubbles that would indicate a propane leak, and address the problem before using the grill again.
  3. Never light a gas grill with the lid closed. Keep a spray bottle filled with water handy to suppress flare-ups and a fire extinguisher close by for emergencies.