Did you know that more fire deaths and injuries occur in the home than in any other place? According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) between 2007 and 2011 U.S. fire departments responded to 366,600 home structure fires each year. These fires caused an average of 2,570 civilian deaths, 13,210 civilian injuries and $7.2 billion in direct property damage per year. These statistics are alarming and should be cause for concern among homeowners.
From cooking equipment and candles to heating equipment and cigarettes, your home is at risk for fires. At Petruzelo Insurance we want every homeowner to be protected from fires so we offer some helpful tips to prevent fires in your home.
Install & Check Smoke Detectors – If a fire starts at night when everyone is asleep it can spread quickly and endanger everyone. Your best defense is high quality smoke detectors that will emit an audible alarm to alert you that smoke is present. Look for smoke detector models that are listed with Underwriters Laboratories, always check that the batteries are working and ensure the alarms are placed near bedrooms. It is estimated that more than half of home fire deaths occur between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., when most people are sleeping. Test your smoke detectors once a month and replace the batteries every year.
Have a Fire Escape Plan – When fires start it’s very easy for people to panic. If you don’t have a disaster plan in place this can lead to chaos and the risk of fatalities. It is strongly recommended that every home have a fire safety escape plan and that everyone living in the home is clear about what the plan is. Acting quickly and calmly is your best bet for surviving a home fire. Always have two ways out of every room, designate a meeting place outside so you can account for everyone and do your best not to leave hallways and staircases cluttered with toys, clothes and other potential obstacles.
Be Careful with Wires – Electrical fires are common. Prevent these types of fires by never overloading circuits or extension cords. Do not place cords and wires under rugs, over nails or in high traffic areas. If an appliance sputters, sparks or emits an unusual smell, turn it off immediately and have it replaced or professionally repaired.
October is fire safety month and with winter coming now is a good time to review your home’s fire safety plans and fix any problems you may have.