According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there was an estimated average of 358,500 home structure fires responded to by fire departments each year from 2011 to 2015. Annually, home fires cause an average of $6.7 billion in direct damage. And around 380,000 people require fire damage repair after an accidental or unintentional fire in their home. We haven’t even touched upon injuries and deaths caused by house fires. Needless to say, it would be best all around if you make sure that you minimize the risk of fire in and around your home. It is better to be safe than sorry. We’ve listed several tips that can help you get started.
Tip #1: Install Smoke Alarms in Every Room
The best tool for fire prevention is undoubtedly the smoke alarm. But they’re also the most easily overlooked or ignored. In fact, around two-thirds of deaths in house fires happen due to the lack of a smoke alarm or a non-working one (i.e. dead battery, not properly connected).
Tip #2: Test Smoke Alarms Every Month
Aside from installing a fire alarm in every room, make sure that even the outside of every sleeping area has one as well as the basement. Make sure to test your alarms, each and everyone, on a monthly basis using the “test” button. If it doesn’t work, try replacing the battery. If it still doesn’t work, call 833 675-5336 to contact a pro to replace smoke and fire alarm system.
Talking about replacements, make sure to replace the battery of each alarm once a year. If it starts beeping to indicate a low battery, don’t hesitate to replace it immediately. Also, get new smoke alarms installed every 10 years or when the “test” button no longer works properly. Even better, get alarms that run on sealed-in, long-life batteries because they’ll last their entire lifespan.
Tip #3: Be Careful When Using Candles
While candles aren’t the number one fire hazard in homes (it’s cooking), it’s still a potential source that should never be ignored. Never leave lit candles near anything that will easily burn; they should be at least a foot away. Don’t let them continue burning if you’re leaving the room. Make sure that lit candles are placed on a stable surface, not somewhere easily knocked over. And always keep candles out of the reach of your children. In fact, fire safety experts recommend that you stick with flashlights instead of candles when the power is out.
Tip #4: Check Electrical Equipment
Frayed and damaged cords can be a source of fire. Make sure to regularly check the electrical wiring of your home, appliances, and lighting fixtures. Even your extension cords need checking for frayed or exposed wires. Unplug and replace any appliances, lighting fixtures, and extension cords that have frayed/damaged cords. Contact an electrician right away if you find any problems with the wiring or an outlet. Also, make sure that you don’t overload outlets. Only one high-wattage device per outlet is recommended. In addition, extension cords should not be placed along rugs, carpet, furniture, or other combustible material. These cords can get warm and frayed ones can pose a fire hazard. Check your home heating sources to see if they’re in good working order and clean. Poorly maintained furnaces and stoves can be a cause of a home fire.
Tip #5: Install Sprinklers
A lot of homeowners don’t install fire sprinklers because they believe that the water damage caused by the sprinkler will be more extensive than the damage that the fire will do. Or that they will be replacing one type of damage for another. However, that’s just a myth. In fact, the amount of damage to your home caused by a fire and a sprinkler is hundreds of thousand dollars less than the damage incurred in a home without fire sprinklers. If that’s not enough to convince you, here’s another fact: early warning systems and sprinklers in the home can lower the amount of injuries, loss of life and property, and damage caused by a fire by a minimum of 50%.
Tip #6: Talk With All Family Members About a Fire Escape Plan
Develop a fire escape plan for the whole family. Each person in the household should know of two ways to exit from every room inside the home as well as the meeting spot outside the home. Also, you should have a family emergency communications plan which ensures that everyone knows who to contact if you guys can’t find one another. Make sure to let your children learn what your smoke alarm sounds like. Also, practice the escape plan at least twice a year. Teach them how to stop, drop, and roll should their clothes catch on fire. If you have people with disabilities living in your home, make sure to incorporate their needs in your plan. Also, if you have elderly people or young kids in your household, assign someone to make sure that they get out safely should a fire break out. All of these seem tedious but it could save all of your lives should the unexpected ever happen.
Tip #7: Hire Reputable Fire Damage Repair Pros
If you ever find yourself with a home damaged by fire, you’re going to need help in restoring it back to order. More importantly, you’re going to need help in making sure that it’s not going to be vulnerable to fire. This is where fire damage repair professionals come in. These individuals will be able to assess the degree of damage, which areas are unsafe, and how to remove any water, smoke, and soot left behind. They’ll also be able to sanitize and clean up your property to prepare it for restoration. Fire damage repair pros are also skilled in repairs and reconstruction (e.g. painting, carpentry, reconstruction of rooms), able to help you make the home livable again.