How to reduce the risk of fire in your home

May 14th, 2014 by admin

A fire can be devastating. It can destroy a home, as well as cause serious injury, so preparing yourself and mitigating fire-related risks is crucial. There are many simple things you can do to not only protect the integrity of your house, but also alleviate risk and ensure your safety if a fire does break out in your home. Understanding these risks and using these tips to mitigate them can help save on homeowners insurance as well.

Here are a few tips to remember:

Check the smoke detectors twice a year – The general rule of thumb is that you should do this the same day you set your clocks forward or back for Daylight Savings. If you don't have Daylight Savings in your area, select two days that are easy to remember like June 1 and December 1. Check your detectors by testing them and replacing the batteries. You don't want to be in a position where your smoke detector batteries are dead and you don't even know.

Manage your sources of heat – Do you use portable heaters, a fireplace or a gas stove? Make sure your portable devices are positioned to mitigate the risk of an accident. They should be at least three feet away from any combustible material. Clean your chimney at least once a year to eliminate buildup. Check your burners to make sure they are functioning properly and maintained to prevent risk.

Check all of your outlets and make sure they are not overloaded – Electrical fires can easily happen if you have too many plugs in one outlet or you simply have them organized in a dangerous manner. Keep your plugs to a minimum in each socket and make sure they aren't near highly flammable materials should a spark occur.

Have an exit plan – The most important thing to consider in a fire is your own safety. Should something happen, you and your loved ones must get out of the house as soon as possible. Sit down with your family and devise a plan to get out of the home when a fire starts. This plan should include a place to meet like a neighbor's house once everyone is outside. 

Carefully position your candles – There's nothing wrong with having a nice-smelling candle in your home, but they can be dangerous if not properly managed. Make sure you blow out all candles before going to bed or leaving your home, even if it's just for a little while. Keep your candles away from heavily flammable materials and try to keep an eye on them whenever you can. If a candle seems like it's burning out of control, blow it out right away.

Teach your children about fire safety – Younger children might think fire is an interesting element that's fun to play with, but if you introduce them to it at an early age, they will learn it's a tool and not a toy. Keep matches out of reach from small children at all times. Teaching your children about the best way to get out of the home during a fire will help keep your family safe should one break out at your residence.