Space heaters, scented candles and fireplaces take center-stage in many homes during the autumn and winter months. They’re cozy and provide a little extra heat as the temp begins to drop. And while many people enjoy these things, they can be very dangerous to you and your loved ones if you don’t take precautions.
The fact is a home fire can happen at any time and to anyone. Did you know the American Red Cross reports 7 people die daily in a tragic home fire and more than 30 people suffer home-related fire injuries1? No one thinks it can happen to them, but that’s not true. A house fire can happen to anyone, and the fall time sees an increase in fire-related insurance claims.
Now is the perfect time to learn fire-safe habits and brush up on your fire preparedness with your entire household.
Here are 8 simple steps you can take this fall to prevent house fires.
- Check your smoke alarms. Test your smoke alarms regularly and make sure you have the recommended number of smoke alarms in your residence. There should be at least one per floor and one outside bedrooms.
- Keep your furnace, hot water heater and other major appliances in good working condition. It might be a good idea to have a professional come and inspect your large appliances yearly to make sure there isn’t any damage or fire risk. Don’t forget to make sure your chimney is properly cleaned and ready for safe use.
- Make sure flammable items are at least 3 feet away from a heat source. Portable heaters, stove tops and radiators can be accidents waiting to happen. Keep curtains, blankets, towels and anything else away from them.
- Stock up on batteries and flashlights in case of a power outage. They are much safer than using candles.
- Always supervise any open flames or heat sources. Don’t leave a burning candle or space heater on in an empty room. It’s very easy for something to go wrong, especially if there are small children or pets that can knock them over.
- Create and practice a fire-escape plan with your entire family. Everyone’s escape plan will look different. Single-family homes, multi-family homes and apartment complexes should be approached differently. Generally, look for 2 or more exits out of every room, know who will help assist others to get out of the home and pick a safe spot to meet at outside.
- Teach your kids age-appropriate fire safety. Teach your kids when they are young to stay away from flames (and other hot things) and to recognize the sound of the fire alarm and what they should do if they hear it. As your kids mature, you can teach them how and when to call 9/11, how to responsibly use the stove, light a candle or even how to use a fire extinguisher properly.
Learn how to use a fire extinguisher. Every home should have a fire extinguisher that is readily accessible. If you don’t, most home improvement stores and major retailers sell them. Make sure everyone in your family knows where the fire extinguisher is and how to properly use one with the acronym, PASS.
- P - Pull the pin.
- A - Aim the nozzle low at the base of the fire.
- S - Squeeze the fire extinguisher’s handle.
- S - Sweep from side to side, focusing at the base of the fire.
On average, you only have 2 minutes to escape your home if there’s a fire2—that is NOT a lot of time. Fires can start and spread quickly which is why everyone in your home needs to be knowledgeable and ready to respond in case of one.
Life is unpredictable. Even the best fire prevention measures aren’t an absolute guarantee that you won’t become the victim of a fire. It’s important to carry the right homeowner’s insurance that protects you in case a fire disaster strikes. Because if you do lose everything in a fire, the last thing you want to wonder is how you’ll rebuild your life without any help.
Here at InsureOnline.com we work to help find you the best home insurance policy that fits your life and budget in case of fire and other unfortunate disasters. Get your fast, free quote today.
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1: American Red Cross, What is the Home Fire Campaign?, November 2022.
2: American Red Cross, What is the Home Fire Campaign?, November 2022.