While fire recovery specialists can do more than ever to rescue your belongings, a house fire is still a devastating, terrifying event. Prevention is the best way to protect your family from post-fire trauma. Simple home maintenance steps and safety precautions may be all you need to keep your family safe. A few minutes spent learning how to prevent fire can save a lifetime of precious memories.
Look out for the most common causes of house fires
Approximately 9% of house fires are caused by electrical malfunction. With that in mind, a thorough inspection of your home’s electrical system just makes good sense. Many of the homes in Toronto and Southern Ontario are over 100 years old, so there is a good chance your home’s electrical system is outdated. Consider hiring a qualified electrician to check your home’s wiring and be sure to practice standard safety measures like never overloading a circuit.
Heating is the next most common cause of house fires, attributed to 16% of fires in the home. Many of these were caused by the unsafe use of otherwise safe alternative sources of heat. To keep your home from becoming one of these statistics, make sure you follow safety instructions to the letter. For example, always make sure a portable space heater is kept at least one metre away from combustible materials, and fireplaces are properly maintained and appropriately screened. And NEVER, for any reason, no matter how cold it gets inside, bring an appliance meant for outdoor use inside as a heat source. In addition to being a serious fire risk, it’s a carbon monoxide hazard too.
Not surprisingly, cooking is the most common culprit, causing over half of all house fires. Among these fires, grease is often cited as the root of the problem. Make sure to keep your stove and oven clean, and if grease catches on fire DO NOT try to put it out with water! If you can cover it with a metal pot or put it out with a fire extinguisher, great. Otherwise GET OUT and call emergency services.
Keep an eye on safety all the time
Even if your smoke detectors are hard-wired into the electrical system, replace the backup batteries in them every six months at minimum. Develop a fire safety plan to keep you and your family safe in the event of a fire. It will be a lot easier to remain calm if everybody knows what to do, especially young children. Your fire safety plan will vary depending on the layout of the house, but every plan should include “meet in one place and go to the nearest available exit.”
While we are in the business of fire recovery and getting people back on their feet after a fire, we’d prefer to never see the devastation of a house fire again. It’s important to remember that virtually every THING in your house can be repaired or replaced – except the people in it!