Fire Prevention Tips for All Homeowners
So, what are the most common causes of house fires? They’re not all that surprising:
- Cooking fires
- Heating fires, including boiler or gas furnace explosions
- Open flames from fireplaces or candles
- Indoor smoking and cigarettes
- Wildfires, most of which are caused by human error
Living in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent, you’re less likely to be worried about wildfires than someone in British Columbia or Northern Alberta, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice the same kind of diligence.
All homeowners should take these fire prevention measures:
- Install smoke detectors on each floor of the home and in utility rooms, rooms with fireplaces, rooms with appliances, and crawlspaces.
- Test all smoke detectors twice a year.
- Clean fireplaces at least once a year to prevent build-ups that can lead to fires.
- Kitchen fires are very common, so remove clutter and flammable items in and around cooking appliances.
- Never leave a burning candle or cigarette unattended.
- Keep candles and burners far from flammable materials like paper and curtains.
- Inspect outlets, all extension cords, surge protectors, and all cords to ensure there’s no fraying to help prevent electrical fires.
Prepare Your Home for the Worst-Case Scenario
If your house does catch on fire, your first priority should be to get out of the house safely as quickly as possible.
Make a Fire Plan and Practice It
Your fire plan should address what you’ll do, where you’ll go, and how you’ll communicate with your family members and the outside world (including first responders) if there’s a fire in your home. Beyond making sure everyone knows to stop, drop, and roll, here are some steps to prepare your family for a house fire.
Test Your Smoke Alarms
Test your smoke alarms regularly. If you don’t have them attached to a centralized alarm system, you may want to consider upgrading (bonus: doing so may come with home insurance discounts).
Prepare and Emergency Bag
Pack “go bags” for the family. One administrative bag should include:
Directions to a safe place
A list of personal contacts (in case your cell phone runs out of battery)
Your driver’s license (and the rest of your wallet)
Proof of insurance
Passports and social security cards, if you keep these documents in the house
Practice Your Plan with a Family Fire Drill
Make sure everyone in your family knows what the smoke alarms sound like and can identify the signs of a fire.
To test your escape routes, run family fire drills to make sure everyone knows two ways out of every room in the house. This may sound extreme, but it won’t seem impractical if you ever find yourself in danger.
As part of your drill, make sure you practice getting to your designated meet-up spot. If you live in a multifamily building with an elevator, it’s imperative that everyone knows to take the stairs or knows where to wait for a rescue if they’re unable to.
Make sure you have a plan to get your pets to safety, too!
Test Your Emergency Communication Plan
You should have an emergency communication plan that accounts for what you’ll do if you get separated without your cell phones. Make sure everyone knows who to contact in case they can’t make it to the meetup spot.
Make Sure Your House Is Properly Insured
Fires are a covered peril in most standard homeowners’ insurance policies. Talk to one of DPM Insurance Group’s brokers or CSRs to make sure your current level of coverage is appropriate for your home, any outbuildings on your property, and the contents of your house.
The Takeaway: Control What You Can
Like most disasters, fires are hard to predict and difficult to prevent. Be cautious in your home and attentive to flames wherever they’re present. There’s not much you can do to prevent a an unknown electrical issue hiding in your walls, but you can take care of your home and maintain a working smoke detector system. Do everything in your power to prepare your home and your family for a worst-case scenario.
Source: Kin Insurance