Food for Thought: Tips to prevent dryer fires

March 17, 2023

With the fast pace of life, we are usually trying to find faster and easier ways to do chores, especially housework. Sometimes the easier or faster way may not be the safest way.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in the United States clothes dryers cause 15,500 fires annually. This results in an average of 10 deaths, 310 injuries, and over $84 million in property damage. What is the common factor causing these fires? Lint.

The following are some steps you can take to help prevent a dryer fire:

· Do not use the dryer without a lint filter.

· Clean the lint filter before or after each load of laundry.

· Follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions and do not overload your dryer.

· Turn the dryer off if you leave home or go to bed.

· Do not dry any items made of foam, rubber, or plastic. These materials can cause a fire.

· Do not place clothes soiled with a flammable substance, such as gasoline, cooking oils, grease, or oil, in a dryer.

Even though these steps can be taken to prevent lint fire, another important precaution to take is to use a short vent pipe and clean it regularly. Do not restrict airflow. The vent pipe should be vented outside and not to the attic or under the floor.

According to Glen Mayfield, a dryer vent technician, these are signs that it’s time to clean your vent:

· Clothing does not dry completely after a normal drying cycle.

· Drying time for clothing takes longer than 35 to 40 minutes in duration.

· A musty odor is noticed in the clothing following the drying cycle.

· Clothing seems unusually hot to the touch after a complete drying cycle.

· The dryer vent hood flap does not properly open as it is designed to do during the operation of the dryer.

· Debris is noticed within the outside dryer vent opening.

· Excessive heat is noticed within the room in which the dryer is being operated.

· Large amounts of lint accumulate in the lint trap for the dryer during operation.

· A visible sign of lint and debris is noticed around the lint filter for the dryer.

· Excessive odor is noticed from dryer sheets that are used during the drying cycle.

Remember that sometimes the easier or faster way may not be the safest. Watch for signs that lint may be forming, and never leave the dryer on when not home or sleeping.

Sweet and Sour Smoked Sausage

1 package Hillshire Farm smoked sausage (or brand of choice)

2 green or red peppers, cut into strips

1 onion, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 can (8 oz) pineapple chunks, drained

1 cup sweet and sour sauce

4 1/2 cups cooked rice

Cut sausage into 1/2 inch slices. Heat skillet on medium-high for 3 minutes. Add sausage, peppers, and onion; cook, stirring constantly 6 to 7 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in pineapple and sauce; cook until heated through, about 1 to 2 minutes. Serve over hot, cooked rice. Submitted by Carthage FCE Club.