Possessing a home fire is an extremely stressful situation and we all hope we never have to go through it. We all think “it won’t ever happen to me” but every year in Canada thousands of house fires happen, some of them deadly. What can we do to protect ourselves from this occasionally deadly occurrence? And what exactly do we do when it occurs? From your smoke detectors to house insurance, you need to be prepared.
Be Prepared… Just in Case
When you purchase your home, you will be required to purchase home insurance and your own insurance provider will pay for these basic measures:
- Take inventory of your own family’s personal possessions. A video recording is the easiest thing to do, but an item-by-item list with your estimated values is much better. (Store these from the premises in a safety deposit box or something comparable.
- Have working smoke detectors.
- Have an evacuation plan.
- Follow appropriate fire safety guidelines.
If you don’t comply with these steps, you may not be unwilling to be covered under your home insurance coverage. Many people say they will make certain efforts when they sign their home insurance types, but go home and forget about the vital steps.
In every home, individuals should practice fire safety and be aware of the everyday dangers that lead to fires. Back in 2002, over 9000 house fires in Canada were started by cigarettes or “smoking apparatus”. Look around your house and make sure that you are taking the following precautions:
- Never overload outlets or power bars and constantly use the correct pronged plugs for every socket.
- Never have anything electric near heat or water.
- Consistently clean out your dryer’s lint screen and make sure that it is vented to the exterior of your dwelling.
- Have your furnace checked and regularly maintained.
- Never leave a hot stove unattended or leave dishtowels near the elements.
- Never leave lit candles burning unattended or near open windows or loose material/clothing.
- Check your smoke detectors at least once a month to find out whether they’re in good working order.
- If you’re a smoker, be sure to properly extinguish your cigarettes, matches, and lighters. It’s ideal to use an outside container with water and sand.
- Keep all matches and lighters away from children.
- If you’ve got a wood-burning stove, make sure it is correctly installed and far enough away from the own walls.
Things to Do if You’ve Got a Fire
If a fire starts in the house the first rule is to get everybody out of the house. Follow your evacuation strategy if possible and get as far off as possible. As soon as you’ve gotten out of the home, visit a neighbor and call 911. Never return to a burning home. Don’t forget to keep low, cover your nose and mouth with your clothing, and examine doorknobs before you catch them. And always remember the vital instructions: Stop, Drop and Roll!
If by some chance you’re trapped inside your house, place as much distance between yourself and the flame as possible. Cover your face with a moist towel if you can and take your cordless or mobile phone with you in case you can call for assistance and direct rescuers to your location.
After the Fire
The main step following a fire is to call your home insurance policy provider. Because of the severity and urgency of a house fire, insurance businesses tend to make fire claims their priority. Your home insurance policy provider can refer fire restoration companies who can complete the initial cleanup and drying procedure. You also need to talk about what’s covered in your policy and what isn’t. After your house has been throughout the first cleanup, you may then move on to a contractor that will restore your house. Have your contractors fill out the proper insurance forms and keep an open line of communication with your insurer throughout the recovery procedure. Click here to learn more.
Fires can escape control very fast, usually in under 30 seconds. Thus, it is important to get out as quickly as you can. Learn more tips for creating a fire escape plan here. For skilled fire damage or smoke remediation support, speak to your regional PuroClean serving West Linn office.