Fire Safety and Homeowners Insurance - Part 1

Early Detection.

  • A house fire can become life-threatening in as little as two minutes. Smoke detectors save lives by alerting those inside to danger. Test smoke detectors periodically and replace batteries every spring and fall. Even better, upgrade to a smoke detector with a 10-year non-removable battery that beeps when it's time to replace the unit. Install a smoke detector on each level of your home and near bedrooms.

Escape Route.

  • Establish a fire exit plan, share details with household members, and practice getting out quickly. Hold periodic fire drills to confirm everyone understands the strategy and knows where to reuinte outside the house. Plan to call 911 away from the burning structure.

Heating System Maintenance.

  • Hire a professional to inspect and clean your furnace before turning it on. Remove flammable materials (newspapers, magazines, oily rags, etc.) that may have accumulated near the furnace over the summer. Do you have a wood-burning stove or fireplace? These units should also be professionally inspected and cleaned before using them. Burn only seasoned wood and place cooled ashes in a metal bucket for disposal. Move combustible items (furniture, home decor, curtains, etc.) at least three feet away from the fireplace or wood-burning stove. Creosote is a common cause of chimney fires. Confirm your chimney is clear of this tar-like substance and is properly vented. Use a space heater cautiously. Place the unit three feet from burnable objects and plug it directly into a wall outlet. The space heater should have an emergency shut-off switch and be in good operating condition. Turn off the space heater when leaving the room.

Reduce Fire Hazards.

  • Keep lighters and matches away from children. Do not smoke in bed. Avoid placing ignitable materials like potholders, towels, and paper products near the stove. Stay in the kitchen while food is cooking, especially when oil is involved. Never use the oven to heat your home. Replace frayed power cords on small appliances, lamps, etc. Avoid overloading outlets with plug-ins or placing rugs over electric cords. Extinguish candles unless you are in the room. Store solvents, paint, gasoline, and flammable liquids outside the house in tightly closed, labeled containers.