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Home fires can happen at any time of year. However, summer can mean an increase in people being in your home and active. This means it can be a good time to review the basics that can help keep your home and family safer, and assist in the prevention of home fires. Take a few minutes to gather your family and go over these important fire prevention tips.
Most home fires start in the kitchen, and many involve hot grease. Cooking related residential fires account for $1.1 billion in direct property damage, (amounting to 17% of total direct damage in home structure fires.) Monitor kids in the kitchen and turn off the range if you are called away for any reason. Have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and in any room with a hot plate or microwave. Also have one in outdoor cooking areas.
The best practice is to have smoke alarms on every level of your home, and in the kitchen. Set up a schedule on your phone to remind you to check the batteries every month and test the alarm. Batteries should be switched every 6 months regardless (these can be used again in any small device, such as a TV remote, but you always want fresh batteries in your smoke alarms.) If anyone in the house is hard of hearing, consider an alarm that includes flashing lights and a vibration.
In case of a fire, everyone in the family should know where to go and what to do. Make sure children understand their safety comes first (no running inside for stuffed animals) and go over escape routes from each section of the house. Make sure children know how to pop off window screens on second story floors, and think about investing in simple ladders and showing kids how to attach them securely to the sill. Practice escape plans with alarms going off to make it less scary if it happens in real life.
Appliances such as stoves, ovens, refrigerators, and freezers should have the manufacturer recommended clearance between the sides, top and back and any wall, cabinetry, or ceiling. Outdoor grills, cookers and fryers should be kept at least 3 feet away from your house and any nearby shrubs or bushes. Make sure to not max out power cord capacity or use extension cords unsafely; roughly 3,300 home fires originate from inside of extension cords each year.
Gasoline should be stored away from living areas, in a well-ventilated garage or shed. Gas should always be kept in a container approved for gasoline storage. Oil soaked rags should be properly disposed of, as should any chemicals, because hot Florida summers can cause vapors and gases to build up and increase fire hazards.
Candle fires cause an estimated $374 million in estimated direct property damage each year. If you use candles in your home, make sure they are set on an even surface and where it will be more difficult for a dog or child to knock one over. Keep them away from furniture or drapes, and extinguish them before going to bed.
By reviewing fire prevention and safety tips annually, you can help avoid home fires and stay safer if one should occur.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not form a part of, replace, change or amend any terms, conditions, provisions or language within your Olympus Insurance policy. We encourage you to read your entire policy.