October is National Fire Prevention Month, and we want to make sure that all of our customers’ homes are adequately prepared in the event of a fire, and to help prevent fires from occurring. It’s important to review these basic safety tips, such as having an escape route, a meet up spot, and making sure everyone knows about the “stop, drop, and roll” technique. Please take the time to review these with your friends and family so we can all stay safe this season.
Practice Safe Cooking!
Stove fires are the third leading cause of fire deaths and the leading cause of injury among people ages 65 and older. However, there are many precautions you can take to prevent cooking fires. First and foremost, you should never leave your stove unattended. We recommend not trying to multitask, no matter how tempting it might be, but rather give it your full attention. Also beware of any towels, pot holders, curtains or even shirt sleeves that might be too close to the stove top. These items are very flammable and can quickly start a kitchen fire. Ensure all pot handles are turned inwards to avoid accidental spills that can cause third-degree burns. Last but not least, never use the oven to heat your home!
While it’s easy to forget, cords, outlets, and wiring pose a huge fire threat, so it’s essential that they be inspected regularly. You want to look for any frayed, exposed wires, or loose plugs on cords. If you find any, it’s best to wrap the area with electrical tape, or if you are uncomfortable doing it yourself, seek the assistance of a licensed electrician. Wires under rugs, over nails, or across high traffic areas can also lead to house fires, and should be avoided wherever possible. Always practice caution when using extension cords and never overload power strips or outlets, as these cords and strips get hot enough to ignite anything flammable that may be around them.
Practice “Smart” Smoking
If you or someone with whom you live does smoke, be sure to never smoke in bed or when drowsy or medicated. When you are done smoking, be sure that you properly extinguish it and always remain a safe distance away from others, as hairspray and clothing are easily flammable. We also want to take this opportunity to remind everyone to keep their smoking supplies out of reach of children at all times.
Space Heater Safety
Space heaters can be very dangerous if not used properly. To ensure that your heater will not cause a fire, always leave three feet of clear space all the way around it. This means all furniture, rugs, curtains, and even pets should not be anywhere near it. Pets are sometimes very curious and can easily be burned by the hot coils of the space heater. Also important is to make sure your space heater has a UL mark. This mark means that it has been professionally tested by Underwriters Laboratories and is deemed as safe to use in your home.
Many of us enjoy the warmth and comfort of relaxing in front of the fireplace after a long day. If this is the case for your family and you use it often, make sure you give it a check. Every year, your chimney and fireplace should be properly inspected and cleaned by a professional. Never leave a fire unattended, as sparks can fly out at any given moment and land on rugs, furniture, or pet beds, quickly causing a fire. A fireplace should not be used as the primary source of heat for your home and should never be left running overnight or while you are not home. Be sure to properly dispose of the ashes in a metal container after extinguishing the fire, as the ashes can remain hot for hours after the fire has been put out.
Smoke detectors are critical to the safety of your home. While they can’t aid in the prevention of a fire, they can alert you of one as soon as possible so that it can be dealt with right away. According to the National Fire Protection Association, three out of five home fire deaths occur in homes that do not contain any smoke alarms, or those that are not functioning due to dead batteries, or improper wiring. It is critical to test your smoke detectors regularly to ensure they are functioning properly. See your user manual for the proper testing procedure.
There are two different types of smoke detectors: ionization and photoelectric. Photoelectric smoke alarms are simple in design and work by detecting smoke when it enters the chamber and sending an electric current to trigger the alarm. Ionization smoke alarms work in a similar way as photoelectric alarms, but tend to be more responsive and are better in detecting fast-spreading, low-smoking fires more easily. They each serve in their own special way, making them both important. For best protection, we recommend using both types of technologies. There are even combination alarms available on the market that include both technologies and make it easier to properly protect your home. As mentioned earlier, we recommend testing your smoke detectors once a month and replace batteries twice a year.
At Paradiso Insurance, we are dedicated to helping our customers stay safe and protecting what matters most: your home and livelihood. Call us today at 860-684-5270 to ensure your home is properly insured and protected.