Home fires can be absolutely devastating. Whether caused by an electrical short or human error, home fires destroy belongings, damage the home, and can even put the lives of you and your family at risk. Though home insurance can help you recover from the losses caused by a home fire, home fires are entirely preventable with proper measures and vigilance. Here are some helpful tips to avoid a devastating home fire:
Make sure your home has functioning smoke alarms. You should test them on a monthly basis and replace the batteries yearly. The smoke alarms themselves should be replaced every ten years.
You should always be attentive and focused when you’re cooking in the kitchen. Whether you’re baking, grilling, or frying, it is important to monitor the food lest it catch fire unattended. If you do have to leave the room for a minute, turn off the burners.
The American Red Cross uses the adage “3 feet from the heat” to describe how far flammable objects like furniture, curtains, clothing, and towels should be kept from a heat source like a fireplace, space heater, or baseboard heaters. How about “one metre from the heater” for metric measures?
Be very careful if you use candles. Keep them out of reach of children and make sure the flames can’t act as a ignition source for something nearby. Always extinguish them fully after use. Consider using flameless candles for the same atmosphere with none of the risk.
You should have a home fire extinguisher everywhere that there is a reasonable risk of fire, like in the kitchen, garage, or furnace room.
Under absolutely no circumstances should you smoke while in bed or lying down. You could easily fall asleep and cause a deadly fire. Ideally you shouldn’t smoke inside, but if you do it must be with an ashtray and without the risk of dropping a cigarette onto an easily flammable surface.
Having electrical appliances plugged through five levels of extension cords before reaching the outlet is a major fire risk as they can overload the electrical circuit. Have appliances plugged directly into wall outlets as much as possible.
Children should never be left unattended in the kitchen, near a wood fireplace, or left to play with matches or lighters. These fire starters should be kept out of reach of children, ideally locked away.
In the event that a fire does start in your home, you should have an escape plan in place. Practice this plan every six months. Since your goal is to have everyone escape the home in two minutes or less, it won’t take much time at all to practice, but it could save lives.
You should have your furnace, chimney, fireplace, and other heat elements inspected on a regular basis by a professional. These preventative measures could stop an unexpected fire from igniting.
In the unfortunate event of a home fire, your home insurance policy can help you get back on track. Contact your home insurance broker at Rowat Insurance for more information.