Fires are one of the most devastating things to happen to a home or business. Unlike other disasters, it often comes without any advanced warning, leaving the people at a higher risk. This, coupled with the fact that fires are far more devastating overall, makes it incredibly important to prevent a fire from happening in the first place.
The steps to preventing a fire are actually very simple. Even though fires are extremely rare, they can happen and these fire prevention tips will help you get out in front of them.
Identify Potential Fire Risks/Hazards
The first step to preventing a fire is to identify the most common ways that a fire can happen, and then take a look around your home or business to see if it is a possibility for you. Doing a brief checklist every 6 months or so, can go a long way in making sure you catch any issues.
The most common causes of fires on a home are:
- Cooking accidents
- Heating appliances (Space heaters, etc.)
- Electrical fires
- Christmas tree fires
The most common causes of fires at businesses are :
- Cooking equipment
- Heating equipment
- Electrical and lighting equipment
- Smoking materials
Knowing this, take a look around and see how a fire might start. Do you have cooking equipment like pots and pans that need replacing? Are you leaving space heaters on overnight? Is this some weird wiring that you’ve been meaning to fix? Answering these questions could save you later in a big way.
Test Smoke Detectors
This is such a simple thing to do that most people forget. Test those smoke detectors people!
I know, it is a pain in the butt to go and get a ladder and have the fire alarms blaring right in your ear for a few seconds, but it is so worth it if it means preventing a fire or another major disaster.
It’s important to remember that smoke detectors don’t prevent a fire, but only let you know when a fire has already started. However, catching a fire early can mean the difference between a couple of thousand dollars in damage, and a couple million. More importantly, they could be the difference between just dealing with fire damage and dealing with the loss of your life or others around you.
Create Safety Plan and Practice
As kids in middle school, we are always taught to go home and have a plan in place when there is a fire. As adults, this is a practice that we should continue to follow.
At home, identify all your possible exit points and see what the most efficient way would be for each person to leave. Don’t forget to identify a spot to meet as well so that everyone can know who made it out of the building and who may still be inside. Make sure everyone in your family knows the plan!
For businesses, you need to do this same process, only scaled up. Especially if you have a lot of employees, make sure the plan is clearly created and displayed in multiple locations in the building. It is also important that you practice with everyone on a regular basis as well to make sure everyone is on the same page, and you can identify any gaps or issues.
If a Fire Happens, Get Out!
One of the most common ways that people get injured or lose their life in a fire is because they spend too much time either a) putting the fire out or b) trying to gather personal belongings that they find valuable.
Our advice in the case of a fire is to GET OUT. While you may have many things in your home or business that have sentimental value to you and you want to protect, your life and the lives of the people around you are ALWAYS more important.
If you are concerned about losing sentimental items, you can look into a fireproof lockbox or something similar that can help protect those items from damage in a fire.
Overall, fires are one of the most devastating and life-threatening experiences anyone can be in. Not only that, but it can be one of the most complicated and difficult insurance claims to file because of everything that goes into calculating damages and identifying causes of the problem.
Insurance companies love to try and show that you were negligent and that a fire could have been prevented and try to reduce your claim because of it. If you show that you took steps to prevent a fire from happening in the first place and that you had a plan in place if it did, you can really save yourself a big headache later.
If you do end up with property damage from a fire and are not sure what to do, give us a call first! We can help you navigate the process of submitting an insurance claim and make sure that everything goes as smoothly as possible!