Nearly 375,000 homes catch fire in the U.S. each year. These fires claim the lives of 2,600 people, injure 16,000 more, kill 40,000 pets, and leave behind $8 billion in property damage. You and your loved ones can avoid becoming part of these statistics. It only takes doing some simple fire prevention tips.
1. Examine Your Surroundings
The first fire prevention tip requires being observant. Once every three months or so, walk around the outside of your building. Go through every room and identifying potential fire risks. There are many, including:
- Anything that produces heat (ex. space heaters, grills, curling irons, candles, stoves, light bulbs) has the potential to start a fire. Always leave plenty of space around these things. They should never be left unattended.
- Overloaded or aging electrical systems (ex. multi-plugs, extension cords, and worn/outdated wiring) always need your immediate attention.
- Cigarettes or cigars, especially when used in bed, cause a large number of fire deaths. An ember can fall onto a mattress or cushion. They can smolder long enough for the smoker, and others in the home, to fall asleep.
2. Test Your Smoke Detectors
Smoke detectors can give you an alert to escape a fire, making them a fire prevention tip you should not ignore. Make sure there are detectors installed on every floor. There should be more than one on large floors or in areas separated by long hallways. Then:
- Test the alarms every month.
- Change the batteries every six months.
- Change the entire unit every 10 years. You can usually find the manufacturing date on the back of the unit.
3. Practice Your Safety Plan
Knowing your house is on fire is terrifying. Thick smoke will fill the room very quickly, making it impossible to see. Your mind races, challenging your ability to make rational decisions. This is why having a safety plan is a critically important fire prevention tip.
- Make sure your family knows what the smoke alarm sounds like.
- Identify two possible ways out of every room. Never let anyone sleep in a room if there aren’t two ways out.
- Have a rallying point where your family members can meet after they evacuate. It can be a neighbor’s house, a nearby park, or even just across the street. Everyone needs to go to the meeting place immediately.
Find a time to put your fire prevention plan in place. Go over it with your family.
4. Evacuate Immediately
It may be tempting to try to put a fire out. Fire professionals recommend against this. You will be overwhelmed by toxic gases and smoke. Stay low when the smoke alarm goes off. Exit as quickly as you can. Go straight to your rally point and call 911. Be sure that you stay far away from a burning building. You should never, under any circumstance, go back into a burning building.
However, even the most careful homeowners can have a fire. If this happens to you, Aftermath Adjusters & Consulting is here to help. Give us a call, and we’ll help you negotiate your claim with your insurance carrier so that you get the highest payout possible.