Spring is a time when the weather is warming up and many of us are considering a good spring cleaning inside and outside. Consider these safety tips as you plan and perform your spring cleaning:
- Clean up clutter and yard debris, such as dead leaves and dry weeds. Cut back dead limbs and grasses. Be sure to clean all combustible materials for a 10 foot wide area around structures to reduce the chance of fire. If using mulch, consider a non-combustible mulch such as gravel or decorative stone.
- Check the gutters and clean out any debris. Summer will be here before you know it - along with the quick hard rains that often occur at that time. Cleaning your gutters now will prevent overflow when those gutters are filled with summer rains.
- Check outdoor electrical outlets and other electrical appliances.
- Check and clean grills. If you have a propane grill that hasn't been used all winter, be sure to check it thoroughly before using it. Be sure the burners and surrounding area are clean and check the hoses to make sure they are in good repair and the connections are all tight. To check for leaks, take soapy water in a spray bottle and spray connections and hoses. Turn on the propane. Bubbles will form anywhere there is a leak. Make sure the connections are tight, if the hose shows a leak, replace it.
- Clean up work area by putting tools and other work areas away from children's reach. Remove all fire hazards, such as rags, newspapers and magazines.
- Reduce clutter inside and outside your home. While clutter does not often start fites, it can become fuel for a fire. Check paints, pesticides, herbicides and other poisons to make sure they are not expired and be sure to store them properly - out of the reach of children and pets.
- Store your cleaning products out of the reach of children and pets. Many of them are toxic if swallowed.
- Spring cleaning is a good time to clean out the medicine cabinet, removing any medicines that are expired.
- Check the dryer and remove any excess lint buildup. Lint is highly combustible and many home fires are caused by a building up lint around and under a dryer. Move the dryer out and clean under it.
- Test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to make sure they are working. Remember, the time just jumped forward - did you remember to replace the batteries in these alarms?