It only takes 30 seconds or less for a small flame to turn into a major out of control fire. That major fire can damage or destroy your home, your belongings, and potentially injure or kill members of your family.
In Ireland this is an all too common scenario in the home. About 80% of fires that occurred in 2012 happened in residential areas. House fires can happen at anytime, anywhere, and the majority of the time they are preventable using simple measures.
The main cause of home fires is cooking, but incorrectly discarded cigarettes, heating equipment, outdated wiring, candles, Christmas tree decoration, and barbecues are all up there as common causes of house fires.
Prevention & Control
It may seem a little farfetched but installing sprinklers and smoke alarms can be lifesaving. According to a study conducted by the American Red Cross, installing these two items together can cut your risk of dying in a home fire by 82%. Smoke alarms should be placed on every level of your home and the batteries should be checked regularly and replaced at least once a year. These, along with other home safety measures such as fire extinguishers and fire blankets may help you get a reduction in your home insurance premium. Talk to a member of our specialist house insurance team to see how these can help.
Standard home insurance policies cover house fires, but it’s always best to prevent them in the first instance. Below we have compiled a short list of tips for fire prevention and control:
- Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling, or cooking food. If you have to leave the room, turn off the stove and remove any thing from the hot surface.
- Keep any flammable items such as pot holders, towels, and plastic clear from hobs, cookers and stoves. This goes for loose-fitting clothing as well.
- Turn portable heaters off when you leave the room or go to sleep. You should also keep them at least three feet away from anything that can burn.
- Replace frayed, old, or damaged appliance cords or wiring. It is also not advised to run cords under rugs or furniture.
- Keep candles in a sturdy holder on a level surface and always blow them out when leaving the room.
- Have your furnace/fireplace and chimney inspected annually. And cleaned out as necessary.
- Don’t smoke. If you do, keep the bedroom off limits to smoking in order to help prevent falling asleep with a lit cigarette. This can also happen in sitting room chairs so vigilance is needed. Remember cigarettes don’t know when you are asleep.
- Don’t overload plug sockets or extension cords.
- Don’t store flammable liquids near a heat source.
- Check decorative lights before placing them on your Christmas tree and throw out any frayed or damaged lights/cords.
Children & Fire Safety
If you have children, talk to them regularly about fire safety. Tell them about the dangers of fire, matches, and lighters, and make sure to keep these items out of their reach. Teach your children what smoke alarms sound like and what they should do when they hear one.
Another good idea is to create a family fire escape plan and make sure each member knows what to do in the event of a fire. This includes knowing different ways to get out of the house, knowing how to call 112 and knowing to ‘stop, drop and roll’ should any clothing catch fire.
Having fire safety measures in place in your home will not only help you prevent and deal with home fires, it may also, as mentioned above, have an impact on your house insurance premium. To see how much you could save on you home insurance premium, talk to a one of our house insurance specialist on 0818 288 188 or fill out our quick quote form online.