Your home is your sanctuary. At home, you should feel that your family and possessions are safe and secure. Yet, many homeowner fear losing it all to fire, and rightfully so. Fire is the greatest threat homeowners face in terms of damage to their property. Roughly seven people die in house fires every day, and over five times as many are injured in house fires daily. Over $7B in damage is done to property every year as a result of house fires. While these numbers are staggering, there is good news, too—many of these disasters are preventable.
By following the guidelines presented by our home maintenance company in the following four tips to prepare for and prevent house fires, you may drastically reduce the risk of a fire occurring in your home.
- Install and Maintain Smoke Alarms – This one action could cut your risk of death by fire in half. Roughly 3 out of every 5 deaths in a house fire occur in a home without smoke alarms, or with non-functioning smoke alarms. Two types of smoke detectors are available: ionization and photoelectric. Ionization alarms are more responsive to flaming fires, and photoelectric alarms react better to smoldering fires. Since no one can predict what type of fire will occur, the safest choice is to use dual smoke detectors. Additionally, it is a good idea to interconnect them, so that if one is triggered, they all will be set off in response. This way, regardless of where people are in the house, they should hear the alarm. Place smoke alarms on every level of the home, including the basement, and both in- and outside bedrooms. Test your smoke alarms monthly, and replace batteries every six months, ideally when you change your clocks in the spring and fall.
- Have an Escape Plan – If your home catches fire, you may have as little as two minutes to escape. Many people falsely believe they have more time, but this misconception could cost you your life. Make an escape plan in advance, so that if a fire ever does start in your home, you already know the fastest way to get out. This is especially important if you have children. Astonishingly, up to 80% of families have not practiced fire escape drills with their children. Talk to your family about the importance of a fire escape plan, and practice it with them occasionally. Hopefully you will never need to use it, but if the situation arises, at least you will be prepared.
- Use Caution with Common Fire-Causing Activities – Cooking is the top cause of house fires. Keep alert while cooking and do not leave your stovetop unattended. Stay in the kitchen, or, if baking or simmering, check in regularly and use a timer as a reminder. Keep flammable objects away from your stovetop, such as towels, curtains, oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, etc. Another leading cause of house fires is candles. If you choose to burn candles in your home, keep them at least one foot away from anything that can burn, and be attentive at all times. And always be sure to extinguish them if you are leaving the room. Use sturdy candle holders and never allow a candle to burn all the way down to the end.
- Be Mindful When Using Electricity – Minimize your use of extension cords, and never use them for major appliances. When using heat-producing appliances, plug only one into an outlet at a time. A few warning signs of electrical problems include: an outlet that produces sparks, wall outlets that are warm, flickering lights, appliances that emit a burning smell, and appliances that generate a tingling feeling when touched. If any of these situations occurs, take all safety precautions and unplug the offending appliance immediately.
If you have been a victim of a house fire and require fire and smoke damage restoration services, call Warren Cleaning and Restoration. Our two family-owned and operated offices are located in Big Stone Gap, VA, and Hendersonville, NC, and we serve an approximate 2-hour radius from each. We can safely and effectively handle all your fire cleaning and restoration needs.