Tips to Avoid Fire & Smoke Damage
The best tip for homeowners is vigilance. Preventative measures can be taken across your home to safeguard against fire damage incidents. Here are a few quick tips to help improve safety for you and your family.
Working smoke detection systems are the single most important feature to prevent fire damage incidents. Approximately 65 percent of home fire deaths occur in homes with no working smoke alarms, according to the American Red Cross.
- Install smoke detectors in every bedroom, outside every sleeping area, and on every level of your home, including the basement.
- Interconnect ALL smoke alarms so when one sounds they all go off.
- Install a smoke alarm at least 10 feet from any cooking appliances. Although the kitchen is a risk-area for fires, smoke alarms too close to the kitchen will cause false alarms.
- Replace all smoke alarms after 10 years.
The Fire Department says electrical fires claim the lives of 280 each year, injuring 1000 more, often in preventable scenarios.
- Only plug-in one heat-producing appliance (coffee maker, toaster, etc.) per outlet at a time.
- Major appliances, like refrigerators, dryers, washers, stoves, and air conditioners, should be plugged directly into an outlet. Do not use extension cords or plug strips.
- Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage for lamps and light fixtures.
- Consult an electrician and consider installing arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) to turn off electricity when a dangerous condition occurs.
The National Fire Protection Association reports that homeowner fire damage while cooking accounts for nearly $1 billion in property damage. As a daily undertaking, cooking poses legitimate safety concerns.
- Keep flammable materials away from the oven and stovetop. The leading cause of cooking fires is due to unattended items catching fire, and most of those fires involve the stovetop.
- Always cook with a timer in case you fall asleep or forget you are cooking items.
- Remain in the kitchen while you cook. Even though it is not the most convenient solution, it is the safest.
PLAN AN ESCAPE
A National Fire Protection Association survey revealed that most homeowners felt they’d have more time to evacuate during a fire damage incident. And because of the stressful and unexpected nature of these events, an exit strategy is of the utmost importance.
- Develop an exit strategy in case of a house fire.
- Know at least two ways out of every room, if possible.
- Make sure doors and windows are easily opened during high-stress scenarios.
- Once you’ve escaped, NEVER go back inside for belongings or pets.