Every year in this country about 3,500 people die in fires at home; about 20,000 are injured; and billions of dollars worth of property are destroyed in house fires. Most of these tragedies are preventable.
While there is no such thing as a "completely" fireproof home, there are things you can do around your home to make it more fire-resistant.
Did you know: Three in 10 reported home fires start in the kitchen. That is more than any other place in the home. --NFPA
Did you know: Only 1 in 4 Americans has devised and practiced a plan to escape from the home during a fire. -- 2004 NFPA survey
Did you know: While 66% of Americans have an escape plan in case of a fire, only 35% actually practice it. -- NFPA
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"Spring Cleaning" is in the air. Everyone is preparing their property for the summer by cutting overgrown vegetation, landscaping, field clearing and ditch cleaning. Sometimes it is easier to burn brush rather than haul it to the local dump.
To do this, you will need to obtain a burn permit for this. You can find out more information on obtaining a permit and burn requirements in Santa Fe County on our Open Burning web page. Please keep in mind that the County could be in burn restrictions. To find out you can go to our Burn Restrictions web page or contact your local Fire Department.
An open burn permit is also required for Ceremonial and Bon Fires or any fire greater than 3 ft diameter.
It is a good idea to create a defensible space around your home in preparation for the fire season (late Spring/Summer). This is typically no less than 30 ft. around your home. If your home is on any type of slope you want to increase this to 50 - 100 ft. You can find more information on defensible space at our Protecting Your Home from Wildfire web page.
When you change your clocks to "spring ahead", change out the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. This is a good time to sit down with the entire family to create and practice a home fire-escape plan.
If you live in a mobile home, check your water heater for leaks. Any leaks can affect the durability of the particle board floor causing the water heater to fall through the floor and start a fire.
It is also a good idea to dust behind and underneath your refrigerator. Do not try to move your refrigerator alone.
As the weather is warming up everyone starts hooking up their swamp coolers and air conditioning units. It is a good idea to have these inspected annually to verify that they are in good working order. If you notice that your lights dim or fluctuate with your air conditioning units or other appliances, contact a licensed electrician because your circuits maybe overloading which could cause a fire.
If you notice that your lights dim or fluctuate when your air conditioning units or other appliances are on, contact a licensed electrician because your circuits may be overloading which could cause a fire.
Since the days are longer and the weather is nice we also start to spend more time outdoors firing up the grills. You want to make sure that all grills (gas and charcoal) are not near anything combustible such as vegetation.
Be sure to check your propane tank and all connections before lighting your gas grill.
If the County is in burn restrictions you cannot use a charcoal grill.
You need an Open Burn Permit for open pit burning and for camp fires larger than a 3 foot diameter.
Only use manufacturer recommended appliances for BBQ indoors.
To find out what fireworks are legal in Santa Fe County you can go to our Open Burning web page or contact your local Fire Department.
As the weather is cooling down and we start preparing for winter, there are a few things you can do around your home.
If you use a wood burning heat source (wood stove or fire place), have a professional come in to clean build up in your chimney and ensure that it is in good working order.
If you install your own wood burning heat source, read the Manufacturer's Recommendations and review local building code requirements (NM Construction Industry Division) proper installation.
If you have a lot of vegetation around your home, it is a good idea to install a spark arrestor on your chimney to keep sparks and embers from landing in dead or dormant vegetation causing a brush fire.
To prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, have all gas appliances (stoves, water heaters, furnaces and dryers) checked by a professional annually to ensure that the appliances are receiving enough combustion air. You can find a listing of professionals in your local Yellow Pages.
As you set your clocks to "fall back", change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. This is a good opportunity to review and practice your home fire-escape plan with the entire family.
If you plan on doing any yard cleaning or burning of dead vegetation, you will need to obtain an Open Burn Permit from your local fire department.
Go through your home and check for any water piping that may be exposed and freeze in the winter. Your local home improvement store have various types of insulation for water pipes.
Change the filters on your furnace regularly.
Check your clothes dryer for buildup of lint in the receptacle and also behind the dryer where the exhaust hose is connected.
With the cold of winter comes many fire dangers with home appliances. Not only should you be concerned with the fire danger, but also the possibility of Carbon Monoxide poisoning.
It is a good idea to install Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors in your home. There are even some types that will detect smoke and CO.
Early signs and symptoms of CO poisoning are headaches, sleepiness, nausea, and dizziness. If you or anyone else in the residence are experiencing these symptoms, leave the residence and call your local fire department.
If you have a CO detector that alarms, do not panic. Find out if anyone is experiencing any of the symptoms, if not, open some doors and windows and contact a professional to check you appliances. If your detector continues to alarm (will not reset) leave your residence and contact 911 from a neighbors home. Your local gas and propane companies may also have the proper equipment to check appliances.
Note: Carbon monoxide can kill or cause long lasting health problems. It can be especially dangerous for children, pregnant women, people with heart disease, and the elderly.
If you use space heaters (gas or electric), keep a minimum distance of 3 ft. or the manufacturers recommended distance, from combustible items such as furniture, curtains and toys.
If you use a wood burning heat source (wood stove or fire place) please remember to dispose of ash in a metal container with a lid and wet it down.
Be careful not to dispose of ash in heavily weeded areas or near wood decks
If your water pipes freeze, do not use an open flame source (such as a torch) to thaw the pipe. Contact a licensed plumber or a local home improvement store for suggestions on defrosting your pipes.
If you have outdoor Christmas lights that were left out through the summer, you may want to replace them. The summer sun and weather can cause damage to the cords causing electrical shorts.
This site has been put together by the Santa Fe County Fire Department as a guide for mature adults to reference what to do in the event of an emergency and what steps to take to prepare for or possibly prevent one.
Protect Yourself from Fires
Protect Yourself from Falls