evacuation

Set aside some time and effort to protect your home from a devastating blaze with some safety tips

Fires cause an estimated 3,500 deaths and nearly $4 billion in property damage in the United States annually — much more than hurricanes, tornadoes or floods. Yet many people ignore common fire hazards in the home and don’t prepare themselves or family members for this more common catastrophe.

Buffer Home Heaters

  • Most home fires are started by home heating equipment. Use caution and common sense when using propane, electric or other home heating equipment.
  • Keep flammables, such as drapes and furniture, away from space and portable heaters.
  • Hire a certified chimney sweep to regularly clean and inspect the chimney.
  • Inspect heating equipment regularly for proper design, installation and operation.
  • Follow manufacturer instructions when installing and filling liquid- and gas-fueled heaters.
  • Never leave auxiliary heating equipment unattended.

 

Household Appliances- Household appliances are another common cause of fires. Many people feel invulnerable from electrical fire hazards, thinking the rules don’t apply to them. Don’t make the same mistake and instead connect with these warnings:

  • Don’t overload wall outlets.
  • Don’t use fuses rated too high for your home’s circuits.
  • Don’t use frayed electrical cords.
  • Don’t run extension cords under rugs or furniture.

 

Cook Up a Safe Place-  Most home fires start in the kitchen. To protect your home and family:

  • Keep the stove clean and free of grease.
  • Keep the handles of pots and pans turned inward.
  • Keep all flammable material (including shirt sleeves) away from burners. 
  • Keep a fire extinguisher rated for grease fires nearby. • Never store flammable liquids in the kitchen.
  • Never leave cooking unattended.

 

Protecting Possessions

  • While prevention is the best protection against fires, precautions can be taken to protect possessions. A fire resistant safe or filing cabinet can help protect important documents like deeds, mortgages, titles for cars and birth certificates. Computer disks, home videos and family photographs can also be kept safe this way — if you’re using a safe specifically designed for such heat-sensitive items.
  • For added protection, make duplicates and store the copies away from home in a secure location.
  • And be sure to have Identity Theft protection to provide protection after a disaster when looting is a frequent problem.

A house fire is traumatic enough.  Not having a good record of your belongings can only add to the misery.  Keeping a home inventory of the items you have and their values will help you when the rebuilding starts.  There are free downloads available from the Insurance Information Institute to serve as a guide to homeowners in order to have record after a loss.

A few simple steps can help when taking inventory: Don’t put it off.  Start with new items and their value, and then try to remember older items.  An incomplete inventory is better than nothing at all. Use your camera.  Take pictures or video of your home and write down descriptions to go with it. Keep it safe.  Be sure to keep the inventory in a secure place, such as a fire box or safe deposit box.

Free inventory software

September is Disaster Prepareness Month

If you only had 10 minutes to evacuate your home, would you be ready? What would you take with you? See how two families deal with an evacuation order, and what a difference having a plan can make. http://ow.ly/o5QSs

Ready your Family Emergency Plan…. http://ow.ly/o5TeB

In the event of a sudden emergency such as a hurricane, you may have just minutes to gather your family and important papers, and get out of your house, possibly for good. Are you prepared? Where would you go? What would you take with you? http://ow.ly/o5RQr

Sesame Workshop, along with its project partners has created Let’s Get Ready! Planning Together for Emergencies with tips, activities, and other easy tools to help the whole family prepare for emergencies – together! http://ow.ly/o5Siv

Build a kit for disasters and emergencies! (and don’t forget to update/refresh it) http://ow.ly/o5SFf

A Disaster Supply Kit should contain the following:

  • Water – at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 to 7 days
  • Food – at least enough for 3 to 7 days- Non-perishable packaged or canned food / juices, foods for infants or the elderly, snack foods, non-electric can opener, cooking utensils / fuel, paper plates, plastic utensils
  • Blankets / Pillows, etc.
  • Clothing – seasonal, rain gear, sturdy shoes
  • Medical supplies – first aid kit, medicines, prescription drugs
  • Special Items – for infants and the elderly
  • Toiletries – hygiene items
  • Moisture wipes
  • Flashlight – extra batteries
  • Radio – battery-operated and NOAA weather radio
  • Cash – (Banks and ATMs may not be open or available for extended periods.)
  • Important documents – in a waterproof container- Insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, social security card, etc
  • Keys
  • Toys, books and games
  • Tools -  keep a set with you during the storm
  • Vehicle fuel tanks filled
  • Pet care items- Proper identification, immunization records, ample supply of food and water, a carrier or cage, medications, muzzle and leash.

Visit www.Ready.gov, and www.fema.gov/what-mitigation/plan-prepare for  a thorough look into disaster preparedness  and a more detailed list of emergency supplies. Also, www.Ready.gov/kids is an excellent  resource for information on how to involve children in the process of  assembling the family’s Disaster Supply Kit.