Fire Proofing Your Home
Fire prevention and preparedness is something we diligently undergo in our workplace, schools, shopping centers, places of congregation, however this is not always the case in our own home. A fire can be devasting, especially considering most people keep irreplaceable mementoes, such as photos, family heirlooms or collectibles in their home. When considering what and how to prevent a fire in your home, here are some tips:
- Be Prepared
One of the most important things you can do is create a family escape plan. Have your children participate in the discussion, ensuring everyone knows where the nearest exits are and where to go in the event of a fire. Arrange a family meeting spot outside of the home and practice fire drills with your children.
Make sure your home is well marked so fire fighters can easily access it in the event of a fire. In particular, if you live on a rural property, ensure your driveway is easily identified.
All bedrooms need to have two escape routes: a door and a window. Ensure all basement bedrooms have windows which are up to the current fire safety code.
Consider a fireproof safe to house your passports, birth certificate, deed and any other important documentation.
- Protecting Your House
The type of material used for your roof and siding can play a very important role in fire proofing your home. When you are re-roofing your house, consider installing metal, asphalt or clay shingles rather than shakes. When you are redoing the siding, consider fiber cement options instead of vinyl.
Routinely check all fire hazards, such as power outlets, fuse boxes and appliances. Old and frayed power cords and extension cords should be replaced.
Installing smoke detectors can save your lives and your house! Routinely check to ensure their batteries are functioning and replace them annually.
Keep a fire extinguisher on hand. Ensure the fire extinguisher works by testing it in your back yard.
If you have a wood stove or fireplace, ensure the area around it is removed of any flammable materials. Your indoor fireplace should have a metal or glass screen to ensure embers do not escape. Have your chimneys regularly cleaned and inspected.
- Protecting Your Yard
Many fire hazards can exist just outside your front door. If you are a smoker, ensure cigarette butts are properly disposed of. Check your BBQ connections to make sure they are properly installed and that your BBQ is a safe distance from your house.
Keep your grass well-watered during the dry seasons. If you live in a rural area, ensure you remove dead brush and other hazardous materials from your lawn.
If you do experience a house fire, remember these important fire safety tips:
- Get out immediately!
- Crawl, don’t walk, through smoke
- If your clothes catch fire, stop, drop and roll
- Follow your house evacuation plan and meet at your pre-arranged spot
- Call the fire department at 9-1-1
For useful fire safety tips check out the City of Calgary Fire Departments home safety page: http://www.calgary.ca/CSPS/Fire/Pages/Programs/Community-programs/Home-safety-program.aspx
Did You Know: Living in a metropolitan centre, such as Calgary or Edmonton, a resident will typically have a fire hydrant within 500 feet from their home and a fire hall within 8km from their home with fulltime fire fighters on shift. Compare this to a smaller city, such as Edson, where there is not a fire station within 8km of every home and is operated predominantly by volunteer fire fighters.
If you ever have questions regarding your home insurance policy or coverage in general, contact Rizk Insurance today and we’ll help answer any inquiries you may have.