How Homeowners Can Avoid House Fires
“It’ll never happen to me.”
That is a sentiment felt all too often by homeowners throughout the state of Texas, but fires don’t discriminate and are an active threat to your home no matter what. In 2021 alone, thousands upon thousands of fires were reported throughout the Lone Star State. Sadly, in the same year, 112 Texan lives would be taken due to house fires.
Even when things don’t turn deadly, a house fire can lead to both mental and physical harm to members of your household, the destruction of personal property, and severe damage to your home. Although one of the rarest claims in the field of insurance, fire damage is often the most expensive as it doesn’t take for fires to cause substantial damage through heat and smoke.
Luckily, homeowners can avoid house fires in many ways. There are easy-to-implement tips and tricks that every member of your home can contribute to minimizing the threat of fires consuming your place of refuge. Many may feel like common sense and cliche, but good practices stand the test of time, and refreshing one’s memory can help you keep things in line. Take a closer look at these easy everyday tips your home can use to mitigate fires and keep everyone and everything safe.
Understanding Fire Classes and How to Fight Them
Here at Freedom Insurance Group, we always advocate for your safety and believe in following the advice of experts. We help clients find the best insurance products for their needs because we are experts in our field, which is why we believe in following the expertise of emergency services above all else. Adhering to your local fire station’s guidelines and procedures is always the best course of action, but being prepared for a house fire begins with knowledge. Getting to save location and contacting the authorities is always recommended, but we understand that every emergency situation is different. Get to know some of the different types of fires homeowners may face and how to extinguish them properly
*Image courtesy of the University of Texas at Austin Fire Prevention Services.
Using the right fire extinguisher can help you best control fires in your home in a safe manner. Homeowners who use the wrong type of extinguisher risk injury, inadequately defending their home, and may also help spread flames faster than simply waiting for the authorities to act.
Practice Proper Safety While Cooking
Above all else, cooking fires cause more household fires and fire-related injuries than anything else. They also account for the second-leading cause for fire-related fatalities, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). An unattended flame, electrical issues, spilled oil, etc., there are many potential fire hazards in most homes.
The best practice for any homeowner is to never leave any heat source in their kitchen unattended. Many kitchen fires are small. This is due to the fact that most residents may be able to contain such fires, however, doing so can be dangerous, hence the high number of injuries caused by cooking fires. It is always important to equip your kitchen with the right extinguishers to combat such threats safely.
Never Leave Fires Indoors Unattended
Indoor fires may feel like an oxymoron, but two leading threats to creating a fire in your home come from candles and fireplaces. While candles may fill your home with comforting scents, they are still a fire source and should be treated as such. The open flames of a candle can be an unfortunate match for pets, debris, or anything else that can be an inadvertent fuel source or catalyst. Always monitor your candles and put them out before leaving the room.
In a similar sense, fireplaces can spark a fire large enough to destroy everything you own. One common threat may be obvious, sparks flying out of the fireplace into your home and catching your valuables on fire. But there are more threats than meet the eye. Inside your fireplace’s chimney are two threats to your safety: foreign objects and creosote.
Like it or not, a chimney is open to the outside elements and those elements can find their way into your home. Birds may use your chimney to house their nests, small animals may get stuck, there are tree branches and other debris to consider, and they can all catch on fire as soon as you start one. Similarly, what many homeowners fail to understand is that the “black soot” they may see building up in their chimneys is actually called creosote, a tar-like substance that is highly flammable. We recommend regular chimney sweeps and fireplace inspections to help prevent fires and keep your home safe.
Avoid Using Space Heaters
While Texans may not use them as much as some of our more northern friends, in the wintertime, a cozy space heater can be a seemingly great answer on how to stay warm. But before you get started, remember that 1,700 house fires per year are caused by space heaters alone in the United States. Always monitor your space heater, never use it under a blanket, keep it far away from other objects, and always be sure to unplug it when it is not in use. There are many other options for staying warm but if you do choose a space heater, maintaining safe practices can help you avoid disaster.
Prevent Electrical Fires Through Proper Use
Electrical fires can be tricky. There are many different areas from which they may start and as we continue to innovate and connect in more exciting ways electronically, this is only sure to grow. From faulty wiring to plugging in appliances near water, there are risks everywhere. Still, there’s no need to panic. Thankfully, homes in the modern world are built to extraordinary codes and most electronic devices work with minimal risk, however, there are things homeowners can do to help prevent such fires from happening:
- Be sure to have an inspection, especially on older homes, when purchasing a home to be sure that your home is in good, working condition.
- Annual electrical inspections can also help you minimize risk and protect your household.
- Install ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in areas where the risk of your outlets coming into contact with water may be present. (For example: in your kitchen, bathroom, and outdoor outlets).
- Never overload your outlets and avoid using extension cords whenever possible.
- Use surge protectors to help protect your home from fires.
- Avoid walking on or applying stress to cords and unplug and store cords whenever they are not in use. The stress can cause faulty wiring within the cords and lead to an electrical fire.
- Never force a plug and only use the right outlets for each cord.
- Use the appropriate light bulbs in your home. Never install lights with a wattage that surpasses what your home is built to accommodate.
- Turn off unnecessary and unattended electrical items such as an electric portable heater or holiday decorations while not in use and/or being monitored.
Give Up Smoking (At Least Indoors)
Enjoying a smoke is a personal choice, but smokers have a higher risk of catching their homes on fire than non-smokers. Worst of all, although smoking-related fires are only 2% of all house fires, they are the most deadly types of fires, according to FEMA. Smoking indoors is a hazard to your health and it can also cost you more in the process. Home insurance providers provide discounts to non-smokers because they are less of a risk for a fire than their smoking counterparts.
Home Insurance Protects Against House Fires
Taking the steps to help minimize your risks of a fire is important, but accidents still happen. There are lightning strikes, cooking accidents, and electrical anomalies among the other threats we’ve previously discussed. No homeowner deserves to face such perils alone. The aftermath of a fire can lead to the need to restore, rebuild, and even relocate. Home insurance can help you cover these costs and get back to normal:
|Home Insurance Coverage:||How It Helps After a Fire:|
|Dwelling Coverage and Other Structures Coverage||Your homeowners insurance policy will help you cover the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home, attached structures such as a garage, and detached structures such as a shed or fence affected by the fire.|
|Personal Property Coverage||Protect your possessions by receiving reimbursement for personal property destroyed or damaged during a house fire.|
|Loss of Use Coverage||If your home suffers from a fire, temporary relocation may be necessary. Your policy’s loss of use coverage will help you pay for both lodging and dining while you are displaced from your home.|
The right home insurance policy will provide you with coverage built for your needs all at the lowest price possible. Freedom Insurance Group helps you find these policies and protect your home for less. We help Texans avoid overpaying for coverage by saving our average client 40% on their policies. Our team is here for you through excellent customer service and will help you discover any available discounts for your coverage. By comparing your home insurance coverage through our 25+ top-rated insurance partners, we can find you the best possible policy for the lowest price on the market. Contact us today to get started or check out our free, online home insurance quote tool.