It goes without saying that your team at Harnish Insurance Group has seen plenty of homeowners claims for fires. Often times we ask ourselves – could this have been prevented? In some cases, the answer is no. But in other cases, spending a few minutes to prevent a fire may have paid off and minimized the damage.
That’s why our team is focused on helping you to improve your home’s safety now. This spring, before the hot weather rolls in, take these steps to ensure your family remains safe.
Smoke Alarms Are Critical
One of the most valuable steps you can take to reduce the risk of physical harm due to a fire is to have working smoke alarms in your home. Your alarms should sense both heat and smoke, so they are equipped to detect different types of fires.
If you have smoke alarms in place already, there are a few additional things you can do to make sure they are in good working order.
- You should begin by replacing them every ten years and test them every month.
- Make sure you don’t have a recalled model, such as these Kidde models.
- Make sure you have enough of them. Place them throughout your home especially in the kitchen, at the top of the steps, and near the bedrooms.
But, we also encourage you to consider the benefits of interconnected smoke alarms. This is a network of smoke alarms placed throughout your home. They sense smoke like others, but instead of just sounding themselves, they also send messages to each of your other smoke alarms in the home. They all signal that a risk is present. This gives you plenty of time to react. Some even send you messages alerting you by phone there’s a risk.
Invest in Fire Extinguishers
Fire extinguishers are a must to put out a fire and preventing it from spreading. By the time the fire department arrives, damage can be severe. And, if there’s a burning fire between you (or the kids) and the door to your home, you’ll appreciate having a fire extinguisher nearby so you can take immediate action.
Every home should have at least one fire extinguisher, and most likely two or more. A basic water fire extinguisher will put out fires related to paper and plastics. It’s the basic model. It’s better to choose a CO2 model because it can handle flammables such as oil and gas (even the paint in the garage). Most homeowners should also consider a dry chemical option for electrical-related fires, such as fuse boxes and wiring.
Note: If you already have one, be sure your’s is not on the list of Kidde recalled extinguishers.
Once you have at least one extinguisher, make sure you know how to use it safely and effectively. Take a course if possible or use this OSHA guide to help you and the family understand the proper operation.
If you don’t have one, buy the right one
CO Alarms Are a Must
Do you have a carbon monoxide alarm in your home? If not, consider buying one immediately, it really isn’t an option. CO detectors warn you and your family of the invisible and odorless gas that can accumulate when a gas appliance such as a dryer, stove, water heater, or furnace malfunctions.
CO detectors should be placed in your home near bedrooms, at the top of the stairs, as well as on every floor of the home. It’s also important to educate yourself on the risks of carbon monoxide.
Should you experience a CO alarm, leave your home immediately. Don’t reenter the house until you’ve called the fire department and they’ve given the all clear. Like a smoke alarm, you should test their operation every month.
Taking steps to ensure your family is always safe and that these basic systems are in place and working properly.