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Spring Cleaning Tips

As we ease into warmer weather and longer days, the Seattle Fire Department would like to remind you to keep safety in mind when starting your 2022 spring cleaning and other home projects.  The following are some tips to help keep you and your family safe!

Declutter Before Deep Cleaning

Clutter can create fall hazards and make it difficult to complete and deep spring. Make tackling your long list of spring-cleaning chores easier by starting with decluttering.

  • Consider purging closets, junk drawers, toys, tools and other unwanted items in your home. Sort garbage, recyclables and donations to make space for a deep clean.
  • Clutter can be dangerous especially when it becomes an obstacle for firefighters. Keep pathways in your home clear of clutter especially any obstructions from sleeping areas to exits.

Clothes Dryer Cleaning

A buildup of lint and restricted air exhaust caused a fire
Image courtesy of the Seattle Fire Department
  • Make sure the air exhaust vent pipe for your clothes dryer is not restricted and that the outdoor vent flap will open when the dryer is operating.
  • Move things that can burn, such as boxes, cleaning supplies and clothing away from the clothes dryer.
  • Clothes or towels that have come in contact with flammable substances like gasoline, paint thinner, oil (including cooking and massage oils), or similar solvents, should be laid outside to dry then they can be washed and dried or air dried as usual.

Hazardous Materials – Storage and Disposal

  • Consider limiting the use of harsh cleaning and disinfectants and opt for environmentally safe products when possible. There are many pet-safe products available to protect your four-legged family members from chemicals.
  • Never mix cleaning products as doing so can create toxic fumes.  Read the labels and ventilate your space while cleaning.
  • Household cleaning products, chemicals, paints and poisons should be properly marked and stored securely and away from children’s reach. Safely dispose of any materials that are expired, in defective containers or are no longer needed. Please strictly follow these disposal guidelines.
  • Gasoline and other fuels should be marked clearly, stored in approved containers and in a cool, dry place away from the house and out of the reach of children and pets. Never store gasoline containers in a basement or in the occupied space of a building. Keep them in a detached garage or an outdoor shed.

Ladder Safety

  • Before tackling windows or gutters, be sure to follow the 4 to 1 rule to keep yourself safe: The base of the ladder should be placed so that it is one foot away from the building for every four feet of height to where the ladder rests against the building. For example, if the top of the ladder is at 16 feet, and the ladder extends to 20 feet, the base should be four feet from the building.
  • For more on ladder safety, check out Portable Ladder Safety Quick Card from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Grilling Safety

Image courtesy of the Seattle Fire Department
  • Keep your grill free of grease and fat build-up and check the propane tank, hose, and all connection points for leaks.
  • Make sure grills are at least three feet away from your house, eaves, roofs, or carports as well as any leaves or yard debris.
  • Never leave a grill unattended and keep a three-foot safe zone around the grill to keep children and pets safe.
  • Charcoal grill coals should cool for 48 hours before you dispose of them or you may douse coals with lots of water. Make sure to stir until they are completely out. Only place coals in a metal container with a tight-fitting lid. 
  • Watch our grilling safety video in multiple languages here.

Smoke Alarm Tests

Image courtesy of the Seattle Fire Department

Have you checked your smoke alarms this month? When the smoke alarm sounds, will you know what to do?

  • We recommend testing your smoke alarms once a month.
  • Batteries should be changed every year or when the alarm chirps.
  • Plan and practice your emergency evacuation plan and do a home fire safety check.
  • Watch our smoke alarm and evacuation safety video in multiple languages here.

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