No one wants to lose their home or possessions due to a house fire. It’s a devastating event that can take months – or even years to recover from. Unfortunately, house fires are one of the most common catastrophes experienced by Canadians on a yearly basis.
Staying mindful and alert to any potential dangers in your home is the key to preventing a fire before it starts. Through discussion with our Claims Department, we have developed several practical tips that may prevent a fire from occurring. However, even with preventative measures in place, fires can still occur and have a devastating impact on your life. It is important to be prepared and have a plan of action to minimize the damage.
Most house fires can be traced back to two prevalent causes: leaving stovetops unattended, electrical issues, smoking, and burning candles unattended.
Preventing House Fires: While house fires can be devastating, many can be prevented by the following simple safety practices provided by our Claims Department:
- Unattended cooking: Never leave your kitchen unattended while cooking. Stay vigilant and keep an eye on your stove.
- Proper storage: Store any flammable products correctly and away from potential ignition sources.
- Electrical issues: Regularly maintain your wiring and address any electrical issues promptly.
- Leaving candles unattended: Exercise caution with open flames, such as candles and fireplaces. Always make sure that they are kept away from flammable materials, and they are put out before leaving the room.
- Fire safety equipment: Always keep a fire extinguisher or fire blanket around.
- Cord management: Avoid leaving phone and computer cords plugged in for extended periods of time, as they can overheat and pose as a fire hazard.
- Proper disposal: Dispose of combustible rags properly, avoid putting them in the garbage. Follow local guidelines for safe disposal methods.
- Service your heating system regularly: It’s important to have your heating system serviced regularly by a professional, including chimneys of wood-burning fireplaces. Remember to clean around heat sources and keep dust and other flammable items away from ignition sources.
- Remove lint from your dryer filter after every use: A clogged filter and lint trap make your dryer less efficient, reduces the airflow needed to keep heat from building up in vents, and forces lint onto the heating coils which can be a fire hazard.
- Keep barbecues clean and maintained: When using your BBQ, never leave it unattended and keep it away from fences, vinyl siding or anything that can burn. In the event of a grease fire, douse the flames with baking soda (keep a box on hand) or a fire extinguisher. Water will only spread the flames.
- Space heaters: Do not leave space heaters that are plugged in unattended and keep them clear of flammable materials.
- Safe use of extension cords: Avoid using exterior extension cords inside the home.
- Practice outdoor firepit safety: Remember to keep your outdoor firepit ten feet away from combustibles and a good distance from fences, pergolas, and any other structures. It’s also important to pay attention to wind speed and direction when burning.
Future Fire Prevention: Prevention is key to reducing the risk of future house fires. Here are some additional measures that our Claims Department have suggested you can take:
- Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors: Place smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Test smoke alarms every month. If they're not working, change the batteries.
- Fire escape plan: Create a fire escape plan and discuss it with all family members. Practice the plan at least twice a year to ensure everyone knows what to do in an emergency.
If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL FOR HELP. Never go back inside for anything or anyone.
No matter how big or small the loss is, dealing with the aftermath of a fire can be a stressful and overwhelming process. Being prepared and armed with knowledge ahead of time will help you to navigate the process and get your life back to normal. An invaluable preparation step you can take is recording a video of all the belongings you possess. When you are working together with your adjuster, this small step can make the world of a difference. Having a formal inventory of your belongings and their approximate worth removes the step of trying to keep track of your losses after the devastation. Contact your Ayr Farmers Mutual Insurance agent today online or by phone at 1-800-265-8792 to ensure you have the appropriate coverage to protect you, your home, and your family from fire damage.
Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is for educational purposes only and is not intended as professional insurance advice. The coverage, terms, and conditions of each insurance policy are unique and subject to individual circumstances. The information provided does not guarantee the availability or suitability of any insurance policy for your specific needs. You should not rely on the information in the blog as an alternative to professional advice from your insurance broker or insurance company. If you have any specific questions about any insurance matter, please consult a licensed insurance agent or insurance broker for personalized advice and guidance.