Best Ways to Prevent House Fires
If you have suffered a house fire in the past, your first thoughts as you rebuild or restore your home may be on how to keep it from happening again. While not all circumstances that cause fires are preventable, you can certainly take steps to ensure your home is as protected as possible.
Identify Potential Fire Hazards in Your Home
Aside from obvious dangers, like unattended candles, cigarettes, and cooking, there are other potential fire hazards in your home that you may not have considered:
Unattended hair styling devices, like curling irons and flatirons
Teach all members of the household to triple check that they have unplugged styling devices before leaving the bathroom.
Dirty lint traps
The Red Cross reports that dryers are responsible for 90 percent of all appliance fires. Clean your lint trap after each use to prevent fire.
Dirty chimney flues
Soot and ash can accumulate and potentially ignite, causing a chimney fire that can spread to the rest of the house. Have your chimney flue professionally cleaned at least once per year.
Rodents can chew through wires or build nests beside wiring, posing a fire risk. If you see signs of rodents in the home, you will want to contact pest control as soon as possible.
Other risks include overloaded electrical outlets and forgotten pots and pans on the stove. Never leave cooking, cigarettes, or candles unattended and do not overload your electrical outlets. This is an especially concern during the holidays, when we have lots of additional lighting in and outside the home.
Inspect Your Fire Equipment
Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
In addition to the above precautions, the most important step you can take in preventing fires in the home is to have a working smoke detector.
Change the batteries in your smoke detectors at least twice per year. Set a reminder on your phone or make it a habit to change the batteries with Spring Forward and Fall Back.
You will want to do the same thing with your carbon monoxide detectors. Have them inspected to make sure they are working and replace the batteries twice per year.
Make sure you have a working fire extinguisher and that everyone in the home who is old enough knows where it is and how to use it.
Make a Plan
Discuss the possibility of a fire in the home with your family. Determine which exits you will use depending on where and what type of fire has occurred. Ideally, you will want to practice your fire exit strategy a couple times per year.
What Should You Do After a House Fire?
Unfortunately, fires can still happen, even if you have taken the proper precautions. Wildfires, faulty wiring, storms, and other unforeseen events can lead to destruction of part or all of your home.
If you have been a victim of a house fire, the first thing you will want to do (after you have reached safety) is contact your homeowner’s insurance company. The sooner you do this, the sooner you can receive emergency funds for temporary housing and begin the reconstruction process.
When Should I Hire an Attorney After a House Fire?
If you are having difficulty contacting your insurance company or you feel your fire claim is being mishandled in any way, you may wish to consult with an experienced insurance attorney. David Roth has helped hundreds of clients in Colorado receive fair settlements from their insurance companies. Call our office or go online to schedule your free consultation.