Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware – fire can happen anywhere from The National Fire Prot ection Association. The theme encourages homeowners and families to look for an area where a fire could start, listen for the smoke alarm and learn how to exit each room in the house in two different ways. Along with this educational awareness, we have some fire prevention tips to keep you and your loved ones safe.
1. Listen to smoke alarms
Smoke alarms save lives! They are crucial to have in your home. Ideally, one should be placed on the ceiling of each floor in your home. Just be sure to test the smoke alarms once a month and replace the batteries twice a year when the clocks change.
2. Learn where the fire extinguisher is located
Along with smoke alarms, you should have a fire extinguisher in your home as well. A fire extinguisher can be kept near any potential fire hazards in your room such as the kitchen or near the furnace. Remember, fire extinguishers are designed to tackle small fires. If the fire becomes too extreme, get yourself and your loved ones out of the house immediately and call the fire department.
3. Learn electrical fire safety
Keep any electrical cords away from heat and water sources in your home. Unplug any heat generating electrical products when you are not using them like a kettle, toaster, toaster oven, hair dryer and straightener. Do not attempt to break off the third prong of a plug. For more on electrical fire safety visit the Government of Canada’s Electrical product safety page.
4. Learn kitchen fire safety
Kitchen fires are one of the top causes of household fires. It’s important when cooking, to not leave any appliances unattended. A stove fire can immediately start and rapidly spread in a matter of seconds. If a pot or pan catches fire, it can be smothered out by putting the proper lid over it. Do not move the pot or pan away from the stove, as it’s dangerous and can spread the flames further. Also, be considerate of what you are wearing when cooking. Long sleeves or large fitting shirts have the possibility of catching on fire.
5. Look at the fireplace
A fireplace adds a touch of elegance and warmth to any home. Though, it can also pose as a dangerous fire hazard. Make sure your fireplace is in good working condition before lighting any fires. Look for any cracks or wobbly bricks. Open the damper before you light a fire as well. Leave the damper open until the fire has been put out.
6. Learn the emergency escape plan
Having an emergency escape plan in the event of a fire or another natural disaster cause can help save lives. Include at least two ways to exit each room, including bedrooms. Assign a designated meeting place outside your home to gather while waiting for the fire department. Have fire drills in your home and practice following the escape plan.
7. Look at the lint in your dryer
Dryer fires are more common than most people realize. When it comes to preventing them, it’s important the lint trap is cleaned out after each load in the dryer. Another way a dryer can catch fire is from large amounts of lint stuck in the dryer itself. To avoid lint buildup, make sure the vent is cleaned and inspected at least once or twice a year. Do not use your dryer when nobody is home, in case a fire does happen.
8. Look at the space heater
When the temperatures start to drop, people like to use space heaters to keep warm. To help prevent a space heater fire, place the space heater on the floor and away from any beds, curtains or other dangerous hazards. Be sure to turn the heater off and unplug it if you leave the room or are done using it.
9. Look out for candles
Candles do provide a sense of ambiance and comfort to a home. Though, they can also pose as a dangerous fire hazard if left unattended or accidentally knocked over by young children or pets. Try to keep the wicks trimmed to approximately ¼ inch.
If a fire does occur in your home, the majority of home insurance policies can cover damages and losses to your home. Contact a claims advisor to begin the claims process as soon as possible.
These tips are provided for information and prevention purposes only. They are general in nature, and Desjardins Insurance cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, tailored advice.
In Quebec, Desjardins Insurance refers to Desjardins General Insurance Inc. In Ontario and Alberta, Desjardins Insurance refers to Certas Direct Insurance Company, underwriter of automobile and property insurance.