Cuddigan Insurance

 

It doesn't matter if it's big or small - you own it or rent it - it's a house, an apartment, or a mobile home - your home is your "castle". It is your sanctuary. Your most prized possessions are in your home; your loved ones, your pets, furniture, clothing, hobbies, financial records, photographs, collections, and so on.

 

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 75 to 80% of all deaths by fire happen in the home.


There are several things every homeowner should do to minimize the chance of fire, and to minimize the damage after a fire. The following is a list of home safety issues to check on a regular basis. If a problem is detected, don't delay making replacements, repairs, or updates. Everything that is most important in your life can be at stake.

 

Smoke Alarms -


    * Test every smoke and carbon monoxide alarm at least every three months. Install carbon monoxide alarms near bedrooms.

    * Smoke alarms cannot work without power. AC powered alarms will not work if their AC power supply is cut off by an electrical fire, an open fuse, a circuit breaker or any other reason.

    * Battery operated alarms will not work if batteries are dead or not properly installed. Change batteries twice a year.

    * A smoke alarm cannot detect fire in the walls, chimney or roof unless and until a significant amount of smoke reaches the alarm.

    * A closed door may prevent smoke from reaching an alarm on the other side of the door.

    * A smoke alarm may not sense a fire on another floor. Install detectors on every floor.

 

Space Heaters -


    * Charcoal grills and kerosene space heaters should NOT be used in the house. Charcoal and kerosene give off deadly fumes.

    * Space heaters which are approved for use indoors aren't designed to operate for long periods. Always turn them off when you leave the room.

 

Electrical Wiring, Connections and Outlets -


    * Have an electrician inspect and tighten any loose connections.

    * Use safety caps to cover all unused electrical outlets.

    * Use only extension cords approved by Underwriters Laboratories (www.ul.com).

    * Replace or repair loose or frayed electrical cords.

    * Extension cords are not designed for permanent use.

    * Don't run electrical cords under rugs.

    * Don't staple or nail electrical cords.

    * Check all older appliances for frayed or damaged cords.

    * Replace electric blankets more than 10 years old or with damaged cords, wires, or temperature controls.

    * If you find a warm electrical outlet or switch, shut off the circuit and call a professional electrician.

    * Dispose of or repair appliances that routinely blow fuses or trip circuit breakers.

    * Clean your dryer filter after every load. Schedule a professional cleaning every three years. Accumulated clothes dryer lint is highly flammable.

    * Shut off the clothes dryer before leaving whenever you leave the house.

 

Furnace; Heating Unit-


    * Replace furnace filters every 3 months.

    * Create a 3' item-free zone around the furnace or heating unit.

 

Fireplace -


    * Make sure the fireplace flue opens and closes fully.

    * Don't overfill firebox. Store kindling well away from the front of the firebox.

    * Schedule a yearly fireplace inspection and cleaning by a certified company to make sure no debris is blocking the chimney.

    * Open the flue or damper before starting a fire in your fireplace, every time.

    * Keep all flammables at least three feet away from the fireplace.

    * Place a sturdy fireplace screen in front of the fireplace.

 

Kitchen Safety -


    * Keep a multipurpose fire extinguisher in a place where it is easy to access.

    * Smother oven or microwave fires by turning off the appliance and keeping the door closed.

    * Never attempt to fight a fire that spreads quickly or won't go out. Evacuate the house and call the Fire Department from outside.

    * Maintain a 3' kid-free and pet-free zone around the stove.

    * Damp or wet oven mitts or potholders won't protect you from the heat.

    * Do not store clothing or other combustibles close to fireplaces, stoves, space heaters or clothes dryers.

 

Residents with Physical Limitations-


    * If a family member has hearing difficulties, install a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm with strobe features near the bedroom.

    * Anyone dependent on a walker or wheelchair should sleep on the ground floor.

    * Place pet kennels or containers next to an exit.

    * Don't smoke or use an open flame (candles or fireplace) near medical oxygen.

 

Outdoor Safety-


    * If you live in a place where it snows, remember to keep all exhaust vents from your home clear and shovel out hydrants near your home.

    * Keep your grill away from walls and out from under leaves and overhanging branches. Keep it at least 3' away from your home.

    * Use only products which are designed and approved for starting fires in grills and pits. Do Not use kerosene or gasoline.

    * Don't wear loose clothing when using a grill or fire pit.

    * Once a fire has started in a grill or pit, remove combustibles from the area.

    * Supervise children closely when operating a grill or fire pit.

    * Place portable fire pits on stable, fireproof surfaces, such as concrete, away from combustibles.

    * Don't allow debris and extraneous materials to accumulate in the yard. Not only is that dangerous for children at play, but could impede evacuation from the home in case of fire as well as impede access by firefighters.

 

____________________________________________

Now that you've done everything you can think of to make your home fire-safe, it is time to:

MAKE A PLAN OF ESCAPE IN CASE OF FIRE

Develop and practice a home evacuation plan. Do not waste time trying to collect belongings.

Make sure every family member knows two ways out of each room in your home. Explain to small children that they must not hide under a bed or in the closet.



Practice escaping, staying low to the ground and not opening doors that are hot to the touch. Assign a family member to assist anyone with a mobility issue.

Choose a place outside of your home for all family members to meet. Get out of the home first and then call the fire department from a neighbor's phone. Make sure everyone knows not to return inside the home.

Posted 2:31 PM  View Comments

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