In the event of a fire in your home, you may have as little as two minutes to escape before it becomes life-threatening and only five minutes before your entire home is engulfed in flames. And, according to the National Fire Protection Association, 27% of reported fires occur in homes with 79% of fire deaths and 73% of all reported injuries being caused by home fires. In these circumstances, every second counts — is your family prepared? Having a plan and taking the necessary precautions to protect your family ahead can be the difference between having to replace a few lost items and a tragedy. To help keep your loved ones safe, consider the following tips.
Create and Practice a Fire Escape Plan
An emergency can strike at any time — if prepared, you can help increase your chances of keeping you and your family safe. To create a fire escape plan, first identify two ways to escape from each room in the event a main doorway or window is blocked by fire and smoke. If one of your routes is a high window, be sure to have a collapsible ladder to aid in your escape. Consider the ease with which you can open and remove windows and screens and if windows have bars on them that would prevent access to the other side. Once you have your plan, practice every six months and try making it through with your eyes closed, as there may be heavy smoke affecting your sight in an actual fire.
Install Proper Home Safety
A proper smoke alarm will significantly increase your chance of survival during a major home fire. Install an alarm that can detect both high heat and smoke and test your batteries often — most alarms will need a battery change at least once a year. Each level should have an alarm as well as all bedrooms. We recommend checking with a professional, but as a standard, smoke alarm units should be replaced every eight to ten years.
In addition to smoke alarms, keep your local fire department information and training materials on the use of tools such as fire extinguishers handy.
How to Prevent a Fire
Practicing safe fire habits are simple and can help you prevent a home fire. There are many everyday activities that can lead to an accident, so be sure to keep these in mind throughout the day.
- Stay in the kitchen while you are grilling, frying, or broiling food and turn the stove off if you need to step away from the kitchen, even for a short period of time.
- Be mindful of loose clothing when reaching over an open flame.
- Keep children at least three feet away from the stove when cooking.
- If using a grill, make sure it is at least ten feet away from siding and deck railings as well as out from under eaves and hanging branches.
- Never smoke inside your home and make sure to completely put out a lit cigarette before disposing by soaking it in water.
- Replace all worn, old, or damaged appliance cords and never run them under rugs or furniture.
- Immediately shut off and replace light switches that are hot to the touch or flicker.
- If using a space heater, keep any combustible objects at least three feet away and never leave them on unattended.
- Have fireplaces inspected and cleaned annually and check often for damage or obstruction. Also, ensure the fire is completely out before leaving your home or going to bed.
- Consider using battery operated candles and never leave an open flame in an unattended room.
We hope these tips help you and your loved ones prepare for and stay safe in the event of a fire. If you are interested in reviewing your home insurance options or policy, talk to a member of the customer service team at Eastern Insurance about your insurance options. They can be reached by phone at 1-800-333-7234 (Option 2), or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.