If you thought buying a favorable homeowner’s insurance policy was the best way to protect your home from fire damage, you’d be dead wrong. Ad they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and fate favors the prepared. You see, insurance should really be your last line of defense against fires.
Even though insurance will help cover or mitigate the cost of property damage and repairs, I don’t think anyone (with exception to people who want to commit insurance fraud) want to subject their property and loved ones to the ravages of fire damage. As every diligent and forward thinking homeowner knows, you need to take precautions to avoid costly – and threatening – mistakes.
Not only does fire pose immediate risks to your home in the form of damages, secondary damages can be caused by ash and soot. Apart from exacerbating respiratory illnesses and producing an intolerable odor, ashes can tarnish a wide variety of surfaces including metal, wood, drywall, carpet, and other building materials if it isn’t cleaned up right away.
Believe it or not, in 2013 there were 369,500 instances of home fires, causing 2,755 civilian deaths and as much as 6.8 billion in property damage. So, let’s take a closer look at the best ways to prevent a fire from ever happening in your home.
Proper Safety Measures
In order to prevent fires or nip them in the bud, you need to arm your home with fire safety devices. Naturally, this includes making sure you have smoke detectors, and you also need to make sure you regularly check the batteries and test the device. In addition, it’s common sense to have at least one fire extinguisher per floor of your household. Though these tools are quite common, consider stocking up on the following tools and devices as well:
- at least one fire blanket
- a rope ladder or chain link ladder to escape the upper floors of your home
- a fire safe box to protect crucial valuables
In addition, be sure to adhere to best practices with the following types of threats.
A large majority of household fires start in the kitchen. Keep the following in mind:
- never leave a hot burner or stove unattended.
- keep clothing, towels, sleeves, and other flammable materials away from the burners
- never try to stop a grease fire with water – smother it with a pan, fire blanket, baking soda, and/or call 9-1-1
Use the following best practices for space heaters as well:
- space heaters need to be at least 3 feet away from flammable materials (paper, fabric, etc.)
- never leave them running while unattended
- use space heaters with automatic shut-off valves
- never fill a space heater (or generator) with fuel not designed for that model
Safeguard your home with the following electrical outlet precautions:
- don’t put electrical cords under rugs or carpeting
- never plug in a cord or cable that’s frayed or showing bare wires
- don’t use a heating pad or blanket concurrently, and make sure they’re replaced after 10 years of use
- don’t overload sockets and power strips
- If your home is 30+ years old, have an electrician inspect your wiring