A house fire can be devastating. It not only puts family’s safety at risk, but you could also lose everything you own. While a good home insurance policy will cover a house fire, here are five ways to reduce the risk of one happening in the first place.
1. Check your smoke alarms
Three out of every five home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms, according to the US Fire Administration.
Smoke alarms should be present in every bedroom, and the batteries in your smoke alarms should be changed at least annually. The smoke alarms themselves should be replaced every 10 years (smoke alarms have a date of manufacture on the back).
Check that your smoke alarms are working monthly by pressing the “test” button on the units.
2. Know where your fire extinguishers are
Even a small fire can quickly get out of hand. By keeping a fire extinguisher handy near any area where a fire is most likely to begin, you could easily prevent what could otherwise become a full catastrophe.
3. Inspect your wiring
Faulty electrical wiring is a common cause of house fires. If your home is older than 25 years, you should have your wiring inspected as it does deteriorate over time.
You should also have your wiring inspected if you carry out any home improvements that add extra load, such as adding lighting.
4. Properly manage and maintain your fireplace
Keep your fireplace doors or screen closed when a fire is burning, and remember that certain flammable woods (like cedar, which is often used in small quantities as a fire starter) should not be used as firewood.
Get your chimney cleaned annually to prevent the buildup of creosote, a flammable byproduct of burning wood that can gradually adhere to the side of your chimney.
5. Be careful with space heaters
Turning off space heaters when you aren’t around and placing them away from the traffic flow of a room can keep you safe.
You should never use an extension cord with most space heaters. Do not place a space heater near materials that could catch fire, like a couch or drapes, or on chairs, tables or anywhere else they might fall.