At A & A Insurance we want to help our client to stay safe and to be aware of tips that can help you do more than save on insurance. We want to provide this guide to assist in prevention for your property and to also possibly save lives.
Here are 9 tips:
1. Buy and test smoke alarms: The stats alone are “alarming” enough: 60% of home deaths by fire are a result of homes with no smoke alarms. Make sure you test them monthly – and that you buy one for each level of your home…including the basement…and inside and outside each bedroom.
2. Buy and test carbon monoxide detectors: Not surprisingly, the no. 1 cause of death is carbon monoxide poisoning. There’s a reason why it’s called the “silent killer.” While this doesn’t exactly fall under the category of fire prevention, why not double the prevention with one in case your furnace malfunctions? By the way, A&A’s Amy Lynne Armstrong says both smoke alarms and CO detectors must be working and even crawl spaces require them. The potentially substantial fines that may result from inoperable or missing equipment are NOT recoverable by insurance.
3. Never leave your oven unattended: The number one accidental cause of home fires provincially? People leaving the room while they’re cooking, confirms Windsor Fire Chief Prevention Officer John Lee. Focus and don’t be distracted. Don’t forget to use the exhaust fan or vent above your stove to help prevent carbon monoxide (CO) from collecting inside your home. If you don’t have one, open a window for additional ventilation.
4. Keep your kitchen free of clutter: Remove any items that don’t belong in the kitchen to avoid any additional fire hazards. Make sure that anything flammable is not anywhere near the stove top – especially excess food packaging. Keep an eye on wooden utensils, plastic or anything that could burn or melt. Windsor Fire Chief Prevention Officer John Lee says the Windsor Fire and Rescue Services currently has a campaign called “Put A Lid On It” that advises people to “keep your handles in and “don’t have any combustibles near your heat source.” Further tips can be found at www.windsorfire.com.
5. Have an escape plan: Prepare for the unexpected and map out a strategy for a quick exit should disaster strike – those few extra seconds could save your life. Choose two exits out of each room – including doors and windows – and agree upon a meeting side outside the home. Once outside, call 911. Practice this twice a year. According to John Lee, if you live in a high-rise building, remember that “your point of escape is the stairs, not the elevator or the balcony.”
6. Exercise caution when it comes to space heaters: Make sure all electric heaters are placed three feet away from anything that would be considered flammable: bedding, mattresses, curtains or upholstered. Turn them off when you leave the room and never stack clothing over or covering the cord.
7. Candles: Kept them at least a foot away from anything flammable. Make sure they’re out of the reach of children and never leave them unattended. Ensure that your candle is fully extinguished before retiring for the night or leaving the room. Windsor Fire’s John Lee says there haven’t been any candle fires in the Windsor area for the past year – so good job, people!
8. Don’t overload extension cords or power bars: “We typically see, as far as electrical failures, it’s usually extension cords or power bars that are overloaded – and they can’t breathe,” notes John Lee. “Or somebody’s covered them with something – we see a lot of those types of fires. It’s not the circuit. You have an extension cord that handles only so much voltage and what you have going into it is exceeding it and they heat up – and they fail.”
9. Regularly check dryer lint: If you have a dryer in your home, trapped lint can spell trouble. This isn’t strictly contained within the machine, either – if you have an exhaust duct leading out of your house, make sure that, too, is free and clear. And, if your outside vent isn’t covered and allows birds to build nests, that blockage can be just as deadly.
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