With winter, we think snow and cold temperatures, which would be a fire deterrent, right? Well, unfortunately because of the colder temperatures and conditions, people use methods to heat up their homes which increase home fire occurrences. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 49% of all home heat related fires happen December, January and February! As such, we have assembled a helpful guide so that we can prevent you and us to not be apart of that statistic.
So here are 5 ways to protect your property from winter fires:
- Keep Distance – Make sure that all heaters have a safe distance of at least 3 feet away from any combustible materials (clothes, paper, furniture, curtains, etc.).
- Monitor Portable Heaters – If you must use a space heater, be sure to use portable heat devices only if you are awake and near-by. If you are sleeping or away, you are defenseless from any mishaps. Turn off portable heaters when going to sleep or away from your home.
- Control Fireplaces – When using your fireplace, be sure the heat-tempered glass or metal screen is properly covering the fireplace. Even with the cover, it is also advisable to not have firewood close by in case a spark flies out.
- Maintain Your Chimney – If you use a fireplace, you want to make sure the exhaust vents are unobstructed. Snow and debris should be cleared away if found near the chimney vent. For inspecting and cleaning your chimney, it is best to hire a local professional at least once a year—perhaps in the fall before the colder temperatures set in. With properly flowing air in your chimney, you will avoid smoke and carbon monoxide seeping into your property.
- Maintain Alarms – Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms save countless lives and properties every year. But if the alarms aren’t working, they are useless. As a good rule of thumb, test your alarms every other month to make sure the power is good. Be sure to install alarms in rooms or areas of your home you do not find an alarm present.
It only takes a few moments for a small spark to engulf an entire house in smoke and flames. Remember an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So do your utmost to protect your family, assets and your sanity!
But what if, you did everything above (e.g. kept the distances, monitored heaters, control fireplaces and maintained your chimneys and alarms) yet your property still underwent a fire? Then what would you do next? How would you get your insurance involved? Well, we have assembled a guide to help you through the process of filing a fire insurance claim–click here to read it.