More than a million fires are reported in the United States each year. According to FEMA, fires caused $14.8 billion in damage in 2019. A good homeowners policy will help you set things right with your home, but fires also cause thousands of deaths and injuries each year. GFB agents and claims teams work hard to promote fire prevention to help members avoid these heartbreaking tragedies. We encourage you to review these important tips and take steps to protect your family and your home against risk of fire.
According to UL Fire Fighter Safety, cooking is the biggest cause of fires in homes throughout the United States. Anytime you are cooking with grease, it’s a good idea to have an appropriate fire extinguisher nearby. Never try to put out a grease fire with water because it will just allow the grease to spread and the fire to spread. Grease fires must be smothered out.
Outdoor Brush Fires
It’s never a good idea to leave a brush pile outside, even if you don’t have an outside fire pit and no one in your home smokes. A stray cigarette from a driver going down the roadway can get caught up in the breeze and end up in your brush pile.
If you’re a parent, then you know how quickly your children can do something without you noticing. All it takes is a few seconds with a lighter or a match for your child to ignite something flammable in your home. Talk with your kids regularly about fire safety so they know what the dangers are. Try to keep lighters and matches out of reach.
If you want to have candles burning in your home, there are certain precautions you should take. These include having a sturdy candle holder that cannot easily be knocked over, not burning the candle down the whole way, placing candles at least a foot away from any objects in your home, and not leaving the room with a candle still lit.
Electrical fires can start in a number of ways. These include overloading the circuit, unsealed wires, overheated appliances, and other equipment malfunctions. To help minimize your risk of dealing with faulty electrical fires, there are a few things that you can do. First, you should be replacing any broken or bare wires that you see. Next, you should be mindful of the allotted load on each circuit to ensure that you don’t go over it. Lastly, hiring an electrician to check over your existing electrical system can help you to determine if there are any unforeseen risk factors that your home has.
Dryers are the most common appliance seen in home fires because the lint gets backed up in the system, and this overheats the dryer. Regularly checking over your dryer can help to prevent this issue from happening. If you notice that one of your appliances is not working correctly, take the time to diagnose the problem. Don’t continue to use an appliance that tends to malfunction.
Establish Your Evacuation PlanDid you know that once a fire starts, it can hit critical levels in just 30 seconds? Make sure family members of all ages understand what to do when a fire is detected and review it regularly. When a fire is detected, the first priority is to get everyone out as quickly as possible, then call for help. Do not go back inside.
Test Smoke Alarms
At minimum, you should have a smoke alarm for each level of your home. If you have smart home technology, you may be able to connect your smoke alarm to your Wi-Fi so that emergency services are alerted to a fire quickly.
Purchase Fire Extinguishers
Make sure that your fire extinguishers are in a place that is not accessible for kids, but easily accessible for adults.
If you are not home to watch pets, particularly new or young ones, keep them crated or in a safe room so that they do not chew on cords or urinate on power sources.
Secure Flammable Materials
Many common household items are flammable and must be kept in secure places. Examples include dry leaves, flour, cooking oil, hairspray, nail polish, and gasoline.
Inspect Fireplaces Annually
Fireplaces should be cleaned and inspected annually.
Check Wiring Annually
Fires can be caused by faulty wiring, so it is important to check wiring each year for signs of damage or fraying. Set aside time to investigate and inspect the wiring in your home.
Keep pets and kids at least 3 feet away from space heaters and never use an extension cord with them.
Be Especially Mindful During the Holiday Season
According to UL Fire Fighter Safety, winter holidays are the time when most residential fires happen and those fires are more likely to be fatal. Common holiday hazards include cooking, frying, and holiday decorations such as the Christmas tree and lights.
These helpful tips were compiled based on materials provided by UL Fire Fighter Safety. Please visit their website for more helpful resources on protecting your home and family against fires.
Follow these tips from FEMA to utilize space heaters safely.
For more information, visit www.usfa.fema.gov.
Georgia Farm Bureau encourages you to check out the following resources for more tips on making your home safer against fires:
The Georgia Farm Bureau team hopes you and your family stays safe during every storm. If your property has been damaged, don’t hesitate to call our Claims Department at 855-432-2567 for assistance.