According to the US Fire Administration, over 10,000 attic fires a year are reported to US Fire Departments. The majority of these fires are caused by electrical malfunction (created by faulty wires and ignition sources) and natural causes (such as lightning, which we reported last summer.) How do you take steps to mitigate the possibility of a dangerous fire in your home's attic? We've got some tips here:
Don't store flammable liquids in the attic. Volatile solvents such as paint, turpentine, cleaning products, gasoline, propane, kerosene or other hazardous chemicals don't belong in an attic. Due to variances in insulation, extreme temperature swings occur in attics, which causes expansion and contraction of objects and liquids. This can cause combustion. All hazardous chemical liquids should be properly discarded—see the bottle label for exact details—or stored somewhere away from an ignition source.
Don't trust your treasures to the attic space. Valuable or sentimental papers, clothes and toys are hard to toss, but they're highly combustible fuel for a fire–especially if it's a lightning strike, which is common in Georgia during thunderstorm season. All too often these items are stored in cardboard boxes, which not only burn faster, but also attract insects such as termites or silverfish. If you can't reduce, reuse or recycle, take a picture of the items as a keepsake.
Clothing storage is fine, with a few precautions. Never store fur or leather in an attic; the heat will damage the leather, and the fur will attract other furry creatures. Store other clothing in vacuum-sealed storage bags, and then place the bags in a plastic trunk, tote or portable closet. Plastic will burn, but it has a higher flash point than cardboard and provides some protection against smoke and water damage.
What else is ok for the attic? Your empty suitcases are safe to store in the attic; they're lightweight and not likely to combust. Lightweight holiday decorations are fine if they're stored in plastic tubs, with one caveat; don't store candles in the attic, unless you want to become the "House of Wax." Off-season athletic equipment, if it's not heavy, is fine too. Remember to store items only on step-secure flooring, or you could end up in the living room.
Want to make sure your entire home is covered for fire and smoke monitoring? At EMC Security, fire monitoring is part of our basic services. With alarm monitoring rates beginning at $16.95, you can protect against intrusion and fire at one low price. Call us at 770-963-0305 and find out why so many friends and neighbors in the Atlanta area trust us with their alarm system. Read what they're saying about us on Kudzu.com or Angie's List, then give us a call or reach out via Facebook or Twitter with your questions. We want to earn your business every day!