Sound the Alarm: Fire Prevention Tips
Home Fire Safety
In the affluent Chicago suburb of Hinsdale, there was recently a devastating fire that completely destroyed a large, historic home with many valuables inside. Over 100 firefighters were on the scene. The house was purchased only two years ago for $2.6 million. Luckily, that particular home was properly insured for over $7 million and no one was injured in the fire.
That’s not always the case though. An astounding 350,000 home fires, resulting in $7 billion in property damage, occur every year according to the American Red Cross. Further statistics estimate that 7 people are killed and another 36 injured per day due to home fires.
The best way to practice home fire safety is to make sure one doesn’t break out in the first place. This means being aware of potential hazards in your home. Start by keeping the following tips in mind:
- Check all electrical appliances, cords and outlets. Make sure these are all in working condition, without loose or frayed cords or plugs.
- Use caution with portable heaters. Never place one where a child or pet could accidentally knock it over, and keep it at least three feet away from flammable objects.
- Be careful in the kitchen. Cooking is the leading cause of home fires. Always practice safe cooking habits, such as turning pot handles to avoid being knocked over and supervising children while cooking.
- Check the fireplace. It should be kept clean and covered with a screen to keep sparks contained. Burn only wood in a home fireplace, and never leave a fire burning unattended.
- Beware of cigarettes. They’re the number one cause of fire deaths in the U.S. Most are started when ashes or butts fall into couches or chairs.
- Use candles safely. Keep them out of the reach of children, away from curtains and furniture, and extinguish before you leave the room.
In addition to safe proofing your home, use these tips to help prevent a house fire:
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home.
- Use the smoke alarm’s test button to check it every month, and replace the batteries at least once a year.
- Replace smoke alarms every 10 years.
- Have at least one working fire extinguisher in your home.
- Plan escape routes by determining at least two ways to escape from every room.
- Caution everyone to stay low to the floor while escaping, and never open doors that are hot.
- Select a safe location outside your home where everyone should meet, and practice your escape plan at least twice a year so everyone knows it well.
The Hinsdale house is just a recent reminder of the devastation a home fire can bring. The American Red Cross is helping to spread awareness of home fires and smoke alarm safety with the Sound the Alarm campaign from April 28-May 15, 2018. Their goal is to install 100,000 smoke alarms. As part of this initiative, Assurance employees will be volunteering May 5, 2018 to help install smoke alarms in the Northwest suburbs of Illinois.
Contact an ‘A’ Team member for more information.
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