Hidden fire dangers in your home - KULR8.com | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Hidden fire dangers in your home

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BILLINGS, Mont. -

Structure fires can be caused by common mistakes people make, such as leaving the stove on while unattended. But what about structure fires caused by things that are not uncommon?

Knowing what to look for and how to fix the issue before it turns into something like this is the key to keeping your family safe.

Tyrone Morgan is a deputy fire marshall. It's his job to identify the obvious and the hidden fire threats in homes and businesses. He walked through a home and pointed out some of the problems most people miss. He started in the laundry room.

"You have your electrical panel," Morgan said. "Every Household has one. We want to make sure it's free and clear so we can access it in case of an emergency. We don't have to be stumbling around over boxes or storage and also, combustibles. We want to make sure they are moved away."

Morgan said general maintenance and housekeeping in your home, can prevent fires. A good example is your dryer.

"Cleaning your lint filter, cleaning the inside of your dryer of the lint item."

KULR-8 headed over to a local hardware store. There, KULR-8 spoke with Jade Haynie who showed me a few low-cost items to help get into hard to reach areas in the dryer.

"So they make a product. It's a lint eater, I guess would be the name of it, that you can use to clean out the dryer vent. You can use it to clean underneath hot water heaters. You can use it for refrigerators, anywhere that would be an issue where there's a suction of dirt that you don't get to clean a lot of. They also make product that you hook to a drill and go through the whole piping on a dryer vent too."

The laundry room isn't the only place you can find lint, Morgan walked into the bathroom and pointed out a fire hazard many people don't think about.

"Your fans are electric, keep the vents clean, Morgan said.''

One of the household items Morgan said to look out for are the outlets in your home. He said make sure that you don't overload the outlet with too many plugs.

"Curling irons, toasters, overloading an outlet, not using a surge protester, and using extension cords for permanent wiring," Morgan added.

With winter weather just around the corner, Morgan said a mistake people make in common room areas is having portable heaters too close to furniture. You want to keep those portable heaters at least three feet away from furniture and drapes. Christmas trees and candles can be problems as well.

"We'd like to see one foot around a candle, free from any type of combustibles."

Morgan said if you'd like to replace your smoke alarm, your local fire department should be able to replace it for you for free.  As for carbon monoxide detectors, your local hardware and big box store should have plenty of options in stock.

"If something does happen, those are going to warn you," Haynie said.

Ultimately, these steps are all about protecting your most valuable resources.

"You yourself live there, your family lives there," Morgan said. "Your families and friends, they come over and they stay and they visit. It's important to keep them safe as well."

If you'd like to learn more about fire prevention, you can log onto the national fire protection association web page at NFPA.org.

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