The overnight hours are supposed to be a time to relax, let the day’s cares drift away and dream of even better things for tomorrow.
But approximately half of home fire-related deaths result from fires that start between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.
What a nightmare!
In recognition of Fire Prevention Week, we’re highlighting the leading home fire hazards and what you can do to help keep your family and home safe.
While the autumnal scents of cinnamon and pumpkin spice evoke a warm sense of joy, burning candles can pose a major fire hazard. Home fires started by candles result in an average of 115 deaths, 903 injuries and $418 million in direct property damage every year.
Safety Tip: Enjoy your favorite fall scents without the risk of burning down the house by opting for scented plug-ins and flameless candles instead of real candles.
Out of sight, out of mind… Not so much when it comes to your home’s wiring. According to the National Fire Protection Association, wiring accounts for approximately 63% of home structure fires involving electrical or lighting equipment.
Known as the lightning capital of the U.S., Florida also receives its fair share of lightning-related home fires. When lightning strikes a home, it often travels through the wiring, frying it and posing a fire ignition hazard.
Safety Tip: Install Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters, which break the circuit if a dangerous electrical arc is detected in your home. These can be found at your local hardware or home improvement store for about $30. Consider having a professional inspect your home’s wiring at least once a year.
You’re vigilant about cleaning the dryer lint tray before every use? That’s great, but lint is also transported through the vent system. When this flammable material accumulates, it reduces air circulation, creating the perfect environment for a fire to ignite. Clothes dryers are responsible for an estimated 2,900 residential fires and $35 million in property loss each year.
Safety Tip: Empty your lint tray before each load and never leave your home while the dryer is running. Consider hiring a professional to clean the dryer cabinet and vent system at least every two years.
Cooking is the leading cause of home fires – usually from cooking food that’s left unattended for “just a minute.” More than 40% of all house fires start this way, causing approximately $853 million annually in property damage.
Safety Tip: Don’t leave your home unattended while cooking. Keep flammable items, such as potholders, wooden utensils, towels, napkins and cleaning supplies, away from the stovetop at all times. Keep toasters and toaster ovens away from hot surfaces such as the stovetop and oven, and consider unplugging and storing them in a dry location when not in use.
Ahhh… There’s nothing quite like sitting by the fire on a brisk evening. But this seasonal pastime can quickly turn into a heated disaster without proper caution.
Safety Tip: Make sure your wood fire burns out completely before leaving the house or going to bed. Consider adding glass fireplace doors to prevent flames from extending into the living room and igniting a fire. Make sure your gas fireplace has a protective screen over the glass, and have it inspected by a licensed gas technician once a year.
Smoke alarms can be a major lifesaver. Unfortunately, smoke alarm batteries don’t last forever. If not regularly checked, a smoke alarm can quickly become a fire liability by failing to sound an alert when your dinner is burning on the stove.
Do you have a smoke alarm installed in your bedroom? A National Fire Protection Association poll revealed that 42% of Americans did not know that a smoke alarm should be installed in each bedroom of the home. When there’s a fire, smoke spreads quickly. Smoke alarms are designed to give you enough time to safely escape. For this reason, NFPA recommends installing smoke alarms in every bedroom, and on every level of your home.
Safety Tip: Test your smoke alarms to ensure that they work properly at least once a month. Whether they just need a quick battery change or need to be replaced, making sure your smoke alarms function properly is key to making sure a small, isolated fire doesn’t spread and suddenly engulf your home in flames.
Make Sure Your Home Is Covered
Our Florida homeowner’s insurance is designed to protect your home and other structures on your property in the event of a fire. Our policyholders have access to 24/7 emergency service and covered damage repairs* so they can get their life back to normal, fast. If you're a People's Trust policyholder and the unfortunate happens, Call People's Trust First at (877) 333-1230.
* Participation in the Better Way approach requires the selection of the Preferred Contractor endorsement form, E023. Our Better Way approach is subject to policy and product terms, exclusions and limitations. Availability and coverage levels of some plan features are subject to state laws and underwriting requirements. Coverages, discounts and features subject to individual eligibility and to availability. Coverage exclusions and limitations may apply. For more information on this insurance and related programs, contact People’s Trust Insurance.