Of course, every home has certain fire hazards but they can be reduced to the minimum by a few elemental improvements and precautions. Some call for slight additions to the house equipment; others are simply the old-fashioned art of self-fire policing. This program of little things starts in the cellar and ends in the attic. Here is the list.
Don’t let piles of rubbish and papers accumulate in cellar, attic, closets, and like places.
Provide a metal container with hinged cover for storing inflammable polishes, cleaning fluids, chemically treated dust cloths, mops, oily cloths, and the like. Make sure they are put there when not in use, instead of being tossed into some convenient “glory hole.” Use metal containers also for hot ashes and the daily accumulation of papers and trash.
Be certain that electric wiring fuses are in good order. Pennies behind burned-out fuses are a misuse of good money in more ways than one.
Inspect the cords of all electrical appliances and portable lamps. If they are frayed or broken, replace them. Speaking of appliances, the simple flat-iron in the hands of a careless or absent-minded person probably causes more fires than all the other more complicated work-savers combined. For stage-struck Seventeen, then, moodily pressing her pink organdy while mentally sweeping a triumphant course through a crowded ballroom in a sophisticated black model from Paris; or for dark-hued Martha who thumps out on a luckless shirt the damage she plans to inflict on a certain Pullman porter when he shows up at her back door again, provide an iron that cannot over-heat. With a thermostat that turns current on and off, it and the ironing board can remain forgotten for hours. The electric light company may benefit but no fire will result.
Equip fireplaces with screens that fit. If the hearth has begun to disintegrate from many fires, it is time to renew it as well as loose mortar.
Mount stoves or Franklin fireplaces on metal-covered, asbestos-lined bases.
Don’t put a rug over the register of the pipeless furnace. It will cause dangerous over-heating and the effect will be disastrous rather than decorative.
Be sure no draperies are near open flames such as candles and portable heaters.
If you have gas or keep any quantity of kerosene or gasoline, don’t examine containers by match or candlelight. Use an electric flashlight and turn it on before going near such explosives. These dangers may seem obvious but it is astonishing how many times that faulty mechanism known as the genus homo has been guilty of just such follies.
If rubbish is burned on the grounds, use an incinerator. It keeps loose papers from blowing around and starting an incipient blaze in some cherished shrubbery or in the grass itself. I once lost a fine row of small pine trees in such a manner. They would have provided an ample screen from the main highway, had I exercised a little care with my miniature bonfire.