Chances are, you know that you should change the batteries in your smoke detectors at least once a year — even if you suspect the batteries are still good.
But that isn't the only fire safety check you should do annually. Here are some other recommended tips to help keep you and your family safe.
• Clean your stove burners and oven regularly. Hard grease build-up can become combustible.
• Check your cupboard for cleaning products, paints and other liquids that are flammable. Read each label carefully. Use and store each product only as recommended.
• If you keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen — and you should — confirm that it is still good. Extinguishers are like food. They have expiry dates!
• Go over your fire escape plan with your family. Make sure everyone knows exactly what to do if a smoke detector goes off or if there's a fire. (Don't have a fire escape plan? Make one!)
• Check that all windows open easily, especially upper floor windows.
• Check appliances you use often, such as hair dryers, for worn or frayed cords.
• Regularly clear away lint build-up in the clothes dryer. Check the outside dryer vent annually to make sure it's clear and working correctly.
• If you have a wood-burning fireplace or stove, get it cleaned and inspected by a licensed technician once a year.
Many local fire departments offer homeowners free tips and even in-home advice and inspections at no cost. Contact your fire department and ask about programs available to you.