Between the years of 2011 and 2015, fire fighters responded to nearly 360,000 house fires each year. During that time, fires were responsible for over 6 billion dollars in damage and over 2,500 deaths annually.
Protecting your home from fire damage can protect you and your family members and can also prevent you from paying hundreds or thousands of dollars to repair your home after fire damages your property. Here's what you need to know.
1. Maintain Your Smoke Detectors
Smoke detectors help homeowners catch fires in their very early stages. In some cases, a warning from a smoke detector may help you to put out the fire before it spreads.
Even if you can do nothing about the fire personally, a working smoke detector can prompt you to leave the house and call the fire department when a fire begins. A fast response from the fire department can help you contain the damage.
Change the batteries in your smoke detectors every year. Test your smoke detectors monthly to ensure that you work properly, and replace your smoke detectors every 10 years.
2. Investigate Electrical Problems
Electrical problems like circuit overloads and wires that rodents have chewed on can cause fires. Watch out for problems with your home's electrical system. If you notice flickering lights or buzzing sounds coming from lights and electrical outlets, contact an electrician as soon as possible.
3. Keep Fire Extinguishers in the House
Fire extinguishers make safely extinguishing fires before they spread possible. Keep fire extinguishers on every level of your house and in your garage. Point out the fire extinguishers to everyone in your house, and train them to use the fire extinguishers. If your children have a babysitter, show the fire extinguishers to the babysitter as well.
4. Maintain Your Fireplace
Many house fires start in the chimney. Cleaning your chimney on an annual basis can prevent your chimney from catching fire. If you use your fireplace frequently, you may need to clean your chimney more than once annually. Talk to your fireplace professional to find out how often you should clean your chimney based on the frequency with which you use your fireplace.
When lighting fires in the fireplace, never leave a fire burning unattended. Use the screen to prevent sparks from flying out of your fireplace. If you want the fire to go out so you can leave the room, separate the logs to encourage them to burn out.
5. Clear Debris From Your Yard
Yard debris like sticks, dry leaves, and dry grass can all become a fire hazard, especially if you live in a dry, wooded area. Clearing debris from your lawn after doing yard work can prevent wildfires from burning your property and damaging your home. Maintain your yard and trim your shrubs. Remove dead annuals as soon as they become a problem.
6. Take Care With Candles
Just like fires in the fireplace, never leave candles burning unattended. If you like to burn candles and want to be extra safe, use battery powered candles instead of candles that require a real flame. Battery powered candles can look surprisingly realistic and have almost no associated fire danger
7. Educate Your Children
Children can cause fires by playing with flames, matches, and candles. Educate your children about the dangers of playing with fire. If your children are too young to truly understand the consequences of playing with fire, but are old enough to light a match or a pocket lighter, keep these tools out of your child's reach. Buy only child-safe lighters and use only battery powered candles.
8. Use the Grill Safely
Grills are dangerous in much the same way as fireplaces. Keep your grill at least 10 feet from your house and away from overhanging branches. Light the grill over non-flammable surfaces like pavement or asphalt. Do not light your grill over dry grass, dead leaves, and other combustible materials.
Never leave your grill burning unattended. If you must walk away from your grill with burning coals inside, close the lid or ask someone in your family to watch the grill for you. Do not burn your grill on windy days. Keep a hose turned on and ready to extinguish flames while burning a grill, especially in hot or dry weather.
9. Carry Homeowners Insurance
Sometimes, despite a homeowner's best efforts, house fires still happen. Homeowners' insurance covers damage from standard household fires and can help protect you from financial ruin in the event that a fire destroys or severely damages your home. Keep your homeowners' insurance policy up to date, and review your coverage periodically to ensure that you have enough.
For more information about how you can protect your home from fire damage, contact L.A. Insurance today. We'll be happy to answer all your questions.