Every year hundreds of mobile homes are destroyed by fires that might have otherwise been prevented. Proper maintenance of heating, cooking and electrical systems is the key to warding off those destructive flames. You must also make sure that your home is properly outfitted to warn you if a fire was to break out and that you have the tools to help prevent the fire from spreading.
- Fire extinguishers. Keep one fire extinguisher in the kitchen and another near the furnace. Make sure they’re multi-purpose, dry-chemical extinguishers, suitable for class A, B and C fires. Teach all family members how to operate them. Small home fire extinguishers operate for only five to ten seconds, so be sure of your aim.
- Smoke detectors. Mobile homes built since 1976 come equipped with smoke detectors. If your home doesn’t have smoke detectors, you need one high on the wall or ceiling adjacent to bedroom areas. Place another in the kitchen. Check your smoke detectors once a month by pressing the test button. Replace the battery in each smoke detector at least once a year. Never remove the battery except when replacing it. If your smoke detector is a photo unit, replace the bulbs every three years. Keep the grill of the detector free of dirt by dusting and vacuuming it regularly.
If your home’s smoke detectors are powered by electricity, add at least one detector that’s battery powered in case of power outages.
- Be careful not to overload electrical circuits. Lights that flicker or dim indicate trouble that must be corrected. When replacing fuses, install only recommended fuses. Use fuses and breakers that are the proper size for the wire. A ground monitor is a valuable tool for locating any shorts or other problems in the electrical system. If you are inexperienced in working with electricity, don’t try to correct electrical problems yourself. Call a qualified electrician.
- Don’t overextend an electrical outlet with extension cords. Replace frayed or broken electrical cords. Make sure all appliances are properly installed. Buy electrical appliances and equipment approved by a certified testing laboratory. Never run cords under rugs. Keep dust from accumulating on televisions, electrical equipment and appliances.
Note these additional tips
- Store flammable liquids in approved containers outside the mobile home.
- Never place combustible material under your mobile home – that includes bales of hay or straw.
- Check for worn spots on any heat tape that covers water pipes.
- Keep your yard tidy and free of debris.
- Keep baking soda near your stove to extinguish grease fires.
- Keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach, preferably in a locked cabinet.
- Never use an extension cord on a permanent basis and avoid running them under rugs.
- Never leave home with the clothes dryer running. Clean dryer vents frequently and clean lint screens after each load to keep the airway clear.
- Make regular safety checks of your mobile home’s major systems. Check for cleanliness, proper functioning and loose connections.
- Never block doors or windows with furniture or other large objects.
- Supplemental heating units like electrical space heaters, fireplaces, kerosene heaters and wood stoves can be dangerous. Be sure each device is approved for use in a home. Turn them off before you leave or go to sleep.