Focus on fire safety (at home and away)
A crackling fire is perfect when it’s contained and used for heat, cooking, s’mores, or ambiance. But an uncontrollable fire ranks near the top of all stressful and destructive experiences. Yes, having the right insurance coverage can help you and your family get back on your feet after a fire. But instead of going through that experience, we’ve put together some fire prevention tips to help keep your family and home safe from one of nature’s most damaging forces.
Preventing fires at home
According to Ready.gov, a national public service from the Department of Homeland Security, the best way to prevent a house fire is to monitor the leading causes of those fires. These include kitchen appliances, electrical equipment, portable space heaters, open flames and embers (candles, incense, and cigarettes), and fireplaces or wood-burning stoves. What It Is: Pays to rebuild or repair your home if it is damaged by a covered loss, such as fire, windstorm, hail, lightning and vandalism.
- In the kitchen, don’t leave when frying, grilling, or broiling your food. And never use an oven to heat your home.
- On the deck, ensure barbecue grills are 10 feet from your home or deck railings.
- In the bedroom and bathroom, don’t have candles or other ember-producing items (cigarettes or incense) near flammable objects such as curtains or towels. And never leave them unattended.
- Around the house, replace frayed electrical wires, shut off and professionally replace light switches that have become hot to the touch, and never force a three-prong plug into a two-slot outlet.
Protecting your home from wildfires
Sometimes, there’s nothing you can do to prevent a fire – especially a wildfire. But there are things you can do around your home to add a buffer between you and disaster. The U.S. Fire Administration (usfa.fema.gov) has several tips to protect your home from outside fires. These may include:
- Trim tree and shrub branches that overhang any part of your home.
- Continually remove leaves, pine needles, and branches from your roof and deck or porch.
- Create a 10-foot plant-, grass, and tree-free zone around your home.
Double-check portable space heaters
While a safe space heater can efficiently warm cold spots of your home or home office, they can also be fire hazards. Before using a space heater, ensure it has been evaluated by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or other nationally recognized entity. Be sure it has a thermostat control and it will turn off if the heater falls over.
Stove and fireplace tips
Whether you’re burning wood or pellets to heat your home, inspecting and cleaning your fireplace or stove often will help prevent a fire and can improve efficiency. Additionally, use a heavy screen to stop logs from rolling out and sparks from igniting something in your home.
Fires can happen while you're away
When you go on vacation, double-check that you’ve turned off or unplugged all appliances. This includes television, computers, air conditioners, space heaters, and phone chargers. Additionally, ask someone nearby to keep an eye on your home while you’re away, or invest in home-monitoring technology that allows you to see what is going on in your home even when you’re half-way around the world.
Like to go camping? Be sure campfires are legal where you are staying before starting one up. Also, bring along a working fire extinguisher, and ensure the exhaust pipe on your vehicle is not touching any dry vegetation, such as tall grasses or branches.
First Tech Insurance Services is here to help you protect the things that matter most to you. We wish you a safe and happy summer.