Unfortunately fires are something that can happen to any of us for a lot of different reasons.
Prevention is the best way to protect your family from fire. However, in the event of a fire, preparation becomes the key to making certain your family responds appropriately and safely.
Read these safety measures to be sure you’re prepared in the event of fire.
Smoke alarms/heat detectors
- Make sure your home is equipped with enough smoke alarms and heat detectors to provide early detection of a fire so that your family has enough time to escape safely.
- Place several fire extinguishers throughout your home, in accessible locations.
- Make sure that family members know where all fire extinguishers are located.
- Discuss how to use extinguishers with family members, so that they are prepared.
- Make sure extinguishers are listed as “A, B, C” so that they are safe for all types of fires. (An extinguisher labeled “A” only will not be effective on a grease or electrical fire, and will only cause the fire to spread more quickly.)
- Consider installing sprinkler systems when building or remodeling.
- Plan at least two escape routes from each room.
- Establish a family meeting place outside the home for everyone to gather in the case of a fire.
- Practice fire drills, especially for young children. Provide instruction as follows:
- Crawl on the floor – heat and smoke rise.
- Don’t open any door without first feeling it for heat. Never touch the handle, as it may be extremely hot. If the door is hot, don’t open it; use an alternative exit route.
- Go directly to the prearranged meeting place.
- Never return into a burning building to retrieve toys, pets, etc.
Here are some of the most common causes of fire and how to prevent them:
Kitchen Fire While Cooking
- Don’t leave food cooking unattended.
- Pay special attention to hot grease or oil.
- Always supervise children.
- Keep a fire extinguisher nearby, and make sure it shows “A, B, C.”
- Never use water on a grease fire! Salt or baking soda can also be used to extinguish a fire; or, smother a fire in a pan by putting a lid on it.
Wood/Coal/Pellet Stoves or Fireplace Inserts
- Make sure your stove or insert has a “UL” label on it.
- Ensure your stove was installed properly by a contractor, according to NFPA standards for proper clearances, floor covering, wall covering, flue and chimney.
- Have your chimney cleaned regularly, especially at the beginning of the season.
- Never use homemade stoves, which are a common cause of fires.
- Don’t install or use stoves in a garage; they can contact combustible materials more readily.
- Burn candles and potpourri only when you are in the room.
- Keep open flames away from curtains and other combustible materials.
Outside Burning and Bonfires
- Don’t start open fires when ground and surrounding vegetation is dry.
- Don’t burn when winds are stronger than a gentle breeze.
- Always have a strong water source ready in case a fire begins to get out of control.
- Stay with the fire at all times.
- When finished, rake through the ashes to ensure that all coals are cooled.
- Make sure all outside antennas are properly grounded.
- Install lightning rods to reduce possibility of fire by lightning strike.
- Be sure that your home’s wiring is updated and adequate to handle electrical loads.
- Don’t overload circuits. Breakers trip and fuses blow when overloaded.
- If you have an older heating system, get it checked by a professional for safety.
Please use the following as a checklist to determine how safe your home is, or as a guide to follow when moving into a new home. The more of the following safety features you have, the less likely you are to experience a fire or liability loss. In addition, some of the safety features below may qualify you for discounts on your homeowner’s insurance policy.
- Smoke detectors installed
- Heat detectors installed
- Carbon monoxide detectors installed
- Burglar alarm/security system installed
- Fire extinguishers accessible and in working order
- Dead-bolt locks installed
- Sprinkler system installed
- Fire wall (between multi-family dwellings)
- Fire escapes accessible
- Updated wiring adequate for appliances, etc.
- Updated heating system inspected by safety professional
- Supplemental heating systems, such as wood stove, coal stoves, pellet stoves, and fireplace inserts properly installed and adequately maintained.
- Flammable liquids such as gasoline/kerosene stored safely, preferably outside the house
If you have any questions about your homeowners policy please don’t hesitate to reach out to our licensed agents at John Scott Insurance. We are happy to help you ensure you are fully protected and understand your policy coverage’s.