June 25th, 2014
When you're disaster-proofing your home, you probably put up some storm windows, make sure there are appropriate locks for your doors and put all your patio furniture away. While these tasks can help you deal with the onslaught of high winds and hail, don't forget the inside of your home still has plenty of dangers. A fire can start at a moment's notice and cause a lot of damage to the property. The flames can destroy the structure of the property, and the smoke can cause health hazards. By teaching yourself a few fire prevention tips and getting yourself prepared, you can protect your family and cut down on the cost of your homeowners insurance. Here are a few fire preparedness and prevention tips:
Look for where a fire can start
Before you plan your escape routes, you should first figure out where fires can occur. Doing so can help you repair any faulty systems or clean up flammable materials that are in those areas. Begin by checking all the electrical systems and outlets around your home. Too many plugs in an outlet or on a power strip could cause your system to overload, which can result in cause sparks. Even though you want your Xbox hooked up at all times, consider unplugging it and any other appliances when you're not using them.
Look around your home to see if there are any exposed wires from your appliances or electrical systems. These could cause malfunctions if not fixed properly. You can easily repair these by unplugging or turning the systems off and wrapping them in electrical tape. A word to the wise: You should call a licensed electrician if you're going to tackle any major electrical problems in your home.
Have more than one smoke detector
You probably think that having one of these devices around your home will be enough, but the more you have, the better. It's best to have at least one on every level of your home - two if you live in a big home. It is recommended that you replace the batteries once a year, but if you want to be cautious, do this every few months. Along with that, test your smoke detectors regularly.
Put a fire extinguisher where you need it
Keep this by any areas where fires commonly start. This can be in your kitchen, furnace, garage or fireplace. See that it is working properly and has not expired.
Make an escape plan
When a fire occurs, you could be in a state of shock and not be sure what to do. Creating an escape plan beforehand can help you get to safety right away. Draw a map of your home's layout and go over the escape routes with your family. Once you have exited your home, never reenter the premises. A fire can be a lot more destructive than it looks on the outside, so you will be much safer away from it.