House fires are at the front of our minds this winter. Our hearts have broken as we witnessed family members, neighbors and fellow community members’ homes go up in flames.
According to the US Fire Administration, 50% of all house fires are cooking related. 10% of residential fires are a result of heating equipment and 6% electrical malfunction. Review these simple tips to extinguish your risk for fire.
1. Never leave the kitchen unattended when using your stove top – especially when frying, boiling or broiling foods. Set a timer as a reminder to check on food you are simmering, baking or roasting.
Do you leave the kitchen for a quick task like moving the laundry from the washer to the dryer or taking out the trash? Have you ever become distracted when another task seems to scream for attention on your way to other? It is easy to become distracted and it only takes seconds for a fire to spread. The best practice is to stay in the kitchen.
Also, remember to never use your cook stove as a heating source.
2. Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet from all heat sources – fireplaces, wood stoves, space heaters radiators and candles.
Additionally, turn off all space heaters (and extinguish candles) when you leave the room or go to bed. It is also important to maintain your heating equipment, ensuring it is inspected and cleaned annually.
3. Don’t overload extension cords or wall outlets.
Clark Griswold in a Christmas Vacation and Ralphie’s dad in A Christmas Story did not practice fire prevention safety. Do not follow their example.
Keep those extension cords and wall outlets minimally loaded. And never use an extension cord with an appliance like the microwave or refrigerator.
1. Ensure there are smoke alarms on every level of your home.
Test your alarms monthly and replace the batteries at least twice a year.
2. Install carbon monoxide detectors.
Install carbon monoxide detectors and test monthly.
3. Create an emergency plan.
Determine an outside meeting place where emergency responders can easily see you and make sure everyone in your home knows to call 9-1-1. Identify your home’s exits. There should be at least two exits available in every room.
Visit the National Fire Prevention Association and US Fire Administration websites for additional resources and safety checklists.
Here at Friendship Insurance, we wish you a safe, warm winter and peace of mind knowing you've taken the steps protect your home and loved ones.