According to the National Fire Protection Association – In 2020 alone, local departments responded to 1.4 million calls due to a house fire. Experts estimated a resulting 3,500 deaths and 15,200 fire-related injuries due to house fires. Damages reached up to $21.9 billion, accounting for 32.7% of home insurance claims filed in 2020. According to Insurance.com, the average insurance claim due to house fire damage was $80,000. The average deductible for most homeowners ranges from $500-$1,500.
Many fires and the resulting damage can be prevented by a little common sense and annual vigilance. Does your home have the necessary safety features and equipment needed to survive a fire? Fire prevention and suppression are an important part of your home maintenance schedule.
Do you have enough fire extinguishers in your home?
Most fire extinguishers these days will cover all classifications of fire, whether it be A: combustible paper products, B: flammable liquids such as oils, or C: fires that are caused by electrical sources. It’s recommended that you have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen, any areas around a heat source (such as your furnace or laundry room), your garage, and near bedrooms. There should be at least one centrally located fire extinguisher on each level of your home. Make a note to check the expiration date of each of your fire extinguishers twice a year to ensure your equipment is ready in the event of an emergency.
Smoke Alarms: Not just for your living spaces!
Most people know that each living area should have a centrally located fire and carbon monoxide alarm, and every bedroom should also be outfitted with an alarm. Garage fires are a major source of property damage every year, yet most homeowners overlook installing a fire alarm in their garage. Too often, it’s a neighbor or a passing good samaritan who calls to report a fire that has gone unnoticed by a homeowner until extensive damage has already occurred. Don’t neglect your garage!
How’s your wiring these days?
Most people have their wiring inspected when they move into a new home to ensure it’s up to code, devoid of any potential hazards. This is an excellent practice, but did you know it’s a good idea to have your wiring checked on occasion for damage that might have resulted from pests sheltering in your home? Mice and other rodents are notorious for chewing through wires! Damaged electrical wires are a fire hazard! If your local pest control experts have removed any unwelcome guests in your home, it’s a good idea to have your wiring checked by a qualified electrician.
Have your gas fireplace clean and inspected, too!
Most people are aware that wood-burning fireplaces need to be regularly cleaned and inspected, but gas fireplace owners tend to get more complacent about their fireplace care. Gas leaks or shorts in the ignition of your gas fireplace are fire hazards as well. Gas fireplaces should be serviced at least once every two years.
Check your dryer’s lint trap!
Obstructed dryer vents are fluffy little tinderboxes, waiting for a spark! Regular cleaning of your lint trap and inspection of your dryer’s exhaust system not only helps your dryer run more efficiently but also keeps your home and family safe! Clogged lint traps can cause heat to build up, causing compacted lint to combust. Your lint trap should be cleaned after every load of laundry.
Check your escape route!
If you had to leave your home quickly, how would you get out? Up until 1997, building codes did not require important safety features such as egress windows or fire escape ladders to be included in the construction of homes. According to MN Egress Express, an egress window installation company based in the Twin Cities, many older homes lack these important safety features. With the rise of the home office, many telecommuting workers are spending more time than ever in their basements. Teenagers are notorious for claiming the underground dwelling of a home. Ensure that both you and your entire family have reliable access to the outdoors from your basement by installing an egress window in your basement!