The National Fire Protection Association reports approximately 14,100 fires per year that are caused by improperly venting a dryer or careless maintenance procedures.
Tips for dryer safety:
- Prevent fires with proper dryer duct installation. The dryer duct should vent directly outdoors – never to a room inside the house. Venting a gas dryer inside is especially dangerous because the air discharge can contain a combination of combustible gases.
- Avoid using plastic duct work because it could ignite or melt. Instead, install a hard metal duct from the dryer to the outside of the house.
- Keep the duct free of lint to help reduce the chance of fire spreading outside the dryer and into the vent. Never attempt to dismantle a dryer to clean the line between the dryer drum and the heat element. Contact a professional to do that type of work.
- Use dryer vents constructed of non-flexible metal that contain as few bends as possible.
- Clean the lint trap after every use.
- Call a professional if your dryer is not working properly.
- Install a smoke detector near your laundry room.
Smoke alarms save lives. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out.
Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
- An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires, and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, both types of alarms or a combination alarm (photoelectric and ionization) should be installed in homes.
- Test alarms at least monthly by pushing the test button.
- Smoke rises; install smoke alarms following manufacturer’s instructions high on a wall or on a ceiling. Save manufacturer’s instructions for testing and maintenance.
- Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm “chirps”, warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
- Replace all smoke alarms, including alarms that use 10-year batteries and hard-wired alarms, when they are 10 year old or sooner if they do not respond properly.
- Be sure the smoke alarm has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
- Alarms that are hard-wired (and include battery backup) must be installed by a qualified electrician.
- If cooking fumes or steam sets off nuisance alarms, replace the alarm with an alarm that has a “hush” button. A “hush” button will reduce the alarm’s sensitivity for a short period of time.
- An ionization alarm with a hush button or a photoelectric alarm should be used if the alarm is within 20 feet of a cooking appliance.
- Smoke alarms that include a recordable voice announcement in addition to the usual alarm sound, may be helpful in waking children through the use of a familiar voice