With excessive heat expected in the Las Vegas valley throughout the summer, Las Vegas Fire and Rescue is offering the following tips to prevent heat-related fires.
1. Don't keep your refrigerator/freezer in the garage. Temperatures inside garages or storage rooms without air conditioning can get to more than 100 degrees. That means the compressor on the refrigerator has to work extra hard to keep the contents inside cold. When a compressor is working on overdrive, it can get extra hot and spark a fire.
2. Don't use extension cords with a refrigerator/freezer or air conditioning unit. LVFR says that extension cords may cause fires if used with appliances. If the appliances are running constantly and the extension cord is not designed to carry the electric load, the cord will heat up and cause a fire.
3. Use caution with chemicals. Any chemicals that are exposed to direct sunlight in extreme heat can cause a fire. Paints, fuels and the like can also cause explosions in some cases. LVFR says that one house in the Las Vegas valley was completely destroyed after a can of paint thinner ignited from the sun, causing flames to spread to the back of the house and the attic.
4. Maintain air conditioners and fans. Dust and dirt can build up around fan motors, which can cause a fire, so be sure to vacuum the fan from time to time to keep the motor clean. You should also be sure to check for frayed wires, and have a qualified A/C technician maintain your air conditioning unit at least once every two years to make sure they're working properly.
5. Don't leave flammable or combustible items in your car. That includes any type of aerosol, as well as small electronic equipment. Cell phones, cameras, laptops, and so forth can be damaged because of the heat, and can even explode in direct sunlight.
6. If your car is running roughly or extra hot, don't park it in the garage. LVFR recommends letting it cool outside in the driveway or on the street before bringing it in the garage. Sometimes cars will catch fire during excessive heat, so it's better to have it burn outside than in the garage, which may set more of your home on fire.
7. Practice grill safety. Keep your grill at least 10 feet away from anything that could burn. That includes buildings, fence lines, sheds, and so forth. Also, don't have anything above the grill, such as a canopy or a tree, and never leave food cooking unattended. Also make sure the grill is off when you're done cooking.