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As an insurance agency, fire prevention and safety are always on our minds. We know firsthand how tragic a fire in the home can be and the cost that can be paid by thinking, “That could never happen to me.”
National Fire Prevention Week is a perfect time for a refresher on what you can do to lower the risk of fire damage to your property and help ensure the well-being of you and your family.
Child Safety Locks
To help prevent children from playing with matches or lighters, install and use child safety locks on all drawers and cabinets that contain these items or keep them out of reach.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Place high-quality smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your house. Make a schedule to check the batteries annually – when batteries need to be replaced be sure to do so right away – and replace the detectors every 10 years.
Many new detector designs have the ability to sync with each other, so a fire in one part of the house will set off alarms in other parts of the house – an invaluable safety feature.
Fireplace and Heating System Inspection
Every fall, have your fireplace, furnace, and other heating systems inspected to ensure they are operating properly and meet safety standards.
Talk to a local chimney sweep and HVAC technician about getting on their annual service plan to help ensure you’re heating your home safely.
One of the best ways to protect your family is to create a plan of action. Talk to your family members about what to do when a fire happens. Assign roles to each person, plan your escape routes, and agree on an outside meeting place. Just like the fire drills you had in grade school, having a plan of action will help keep your family safe by reducing reaction time and confusion.
There are three types of fires that occur in a typical home:
A) Ordinary combustibles – paper, wood, trash
B) Flammable liquids – gasoline, paint, cooking oils
C) Electrical – wiring, overloaded circuits
As such, you’ll need multipurpose ABC fire extinguishers that can put out any fire you might encounter. A fire extinguisher in your kitchen is a must, but try and have several placed throughout your home.
If you live in a multistory structure, consider installing an escape ladder on the upper level to have an external escape route in case of an internal fire.
Given how frightening a fire emergency is for us, imagine how scary it must be for our pets. Since dogs, cats, and other furry family members have no idea what is happening during a fire, they might behave erratically when you need them to stay calm. At night, keep your pet leashes and carriers close by to reduce the time it takes to get your pets under control.
Affix labels to your front and rear doors letting people know the number and types of pets you have in case of a fire when you’re not home.
At night, keep your bedroom door closed – studies show this may slow the spread of a fire.
Talk with Your Agent
Taking these steps may help minimize damage from a fire or may prevent one from occurring in the first place, but there will always be some risk of fire hazard. For this reason, it’s important to make sure your belongings and property are covered by your insurance policies.
If you’ve made any changes to your home, are a new homeowner, or are looking to purchase a home in the future, please give your United Insurance agent a call and they will make sure you get the coverage you need.