Did you know, a home fire occurs once every 93 seconds in the United States? Fire is one of the most catastrophic losses our clients face and we’d rather nobody have to go through it! Prevention is most important but having insurance in case it happens is a must. Most home owner’s insurance policies cover fire. Below are some fire prevention and protection tips, ideas for escaping a fire safely and what kind of insurance coverage you need in case of fire.
Fire Prevention and Protection Tips for Your Home
Some of the leading causes of fire are cooking, heating (fireplace, space heater), smoking, wiring malfunction and smoking. Let’s take a look at how you can prevent any of these from resulting in a fire.
Never leave cooking food unattended, especially when using a stovetop. Be sure to turn off ranges and ovens when not in use and keep all flammable materials away from stoves, toasters and hot plates. Educate children on fire safety in the kitchen. Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and teach all household members how to use it. Don’t put metal in the microwave…
When you purchase your home be sure to have an electrical inspection. Update or repair any old or faulty wiring. If you’re a renter, watch out for signs of wiring issues and contact your landlord right away. A few signs of faulty wiring include frequently tripped circuit breakers, flickering or dimming lights, buzzing or crackling sounds. frayed wires, burning smells or smoke coming from electrical outlets or appliances.
If you smoke, be sure to never smoke in bed, while drowsy or taking medication or alcohol that could make you sleepy. The leading cause of fire deaths is smoking because the smoker is often asleep when the fire starts. Consider only smoking outside and putting out your cigarette in a designated ash tray or fire proof receptacle. Also place ash trays on a stable hard surface, never on upholstered sofas, beds or carpet.
Space Heater Common Sense
An estimated 25,000 fires per year are caused by portable heaters. Use caution when utilizing space heaters by turning off and unplugging them when not in use. Using them at night while sleeping increases risk of fire and death so consider using a more safe heating alternative at night. Keep heaters at least 3 feet away from flammable materials like furniture blankets, curtains and garbage cans. Do not use them in enclosed areas like under a desk or in a child’s room. Plug them directly into a wall outlet, not a surge protector.
Believe it or not, your fireplace can be the cause of a house fire, especially wood fireplaces. Gas fireplaces pose less of a risk. Be sure to keep all flammable materials away from the fireplace or wood burning stove. Never leave a fire in an open fireplace unattended. Clean and inspect the chimney regularly. For more tips on fireplace safety, check out this article from The Family Handyman.
This seems like a no brainer but make sure your smoke detectors are installed and working. They should be installed in every bedroom, outside bedroom areas and on each floor of the house. Test them regularly.
If you or someone in your household is deaf or hard of hearing, there are alternative smoke alarms that utilize strobe lights and pillow and bed shakers. Make sure to choose smoke alarms and accessories for people who are deaf or hard of hearing that are listed by a qualified testing laboratory.
Have an Escape Plan
Accidents happen and when fire preventions fail it’s important to have an escape plan. Make sure everyone living in the home knows the plan, especially children. It’s a good idea to practice escaping through windows. You may consider storing an escape ladder under the bed or in the closet of second story bedrooms. Click here to download a handy home fire escape plan worksheet to use with your family
If you have young children, consider visiting your local fire department for more fire prevention and protection tips. They may also be offered at your child’s school.
Insure your Home, Belongings and Life
You may need multiple types of insurance to fully cover you in case of a fire. Home owners or renter’s insurance, umbrella insurance and life insurance are some options and cover different things. If you’re not sure which you need, contact us! Call (509) 483-3030 for a fee consultation.