A fire could occur in any home, and even a minor outbreak could cause a huge amount of expensive property damage, at minimum. Most homeowners are keenly aware of the potential outcomes of most fire hazards, but some people don’t realize exactly how prevalent fire risks actually are. Certainly, there are the obvious risks, but hidden risks can also lurk in many places.
Your best way to be safe in the face of fire hazards is to know how to keep your risks low as best you can. While you cannot eliminate all fire risks, you can substantially reduce them just by following a few simple security practices in mind.
Of course, if a fire in your home does occur, then your homeowners insurance might be able to provide you with a substantial amount of assistance. It might help you repair or rebuild the home, replace possessions and even afford living expenses if you must move out of the home while it undergoes repairs.
Still, you must work proactively to make your home safe against fire risks. Let’s take a closer look at some of these risks, and some ways that you might be able to avoid these issues.
If you have a fireplace in your home, then you have a fire risk in the middle of your living room. Not only could logs roll off the fire and sparks could fly, but other fire risks could beckon within the chimney itself. As you burn logs, debris and flammable byproducts could begin to build up within the flue and grate. These could eventually ignite, and the fire spread quickly throughout the home.
If you burn wood in your fireplace, then make it a point of cleaning both the grate and the chimney regularly. Always clean out the grate after every fire. You should have the chimney professionally cleaned once per year.
Furnace and Heater Risks
Your home’s heating system is a fire risk, particularly if you use furnaces, wood stoves, space heaters or radiators. Like with fireplaces, stoves and furnaces need regular cleanings and maintenance so that they continue to perform safely and optimally.
Additionally, electrical heaters and radiators are fire risks because they can easily ignite flammable items—clothing, furniture, blankets, curtains—nearby. Homeowners are advised to never place flammable items either on top of or near these items.
Stove and Cooking Range Fire Risks
Your stove, oven and other cooking utensils are fire risks, perhaps the most obvious hazards in your home. Both electrical stoves and gas ranges pose fire risks, and other hazards include toasters, convection ovens, slow cookers, deep friers and even microwave ovens.
It is usually simple to prevent kitchen fires simply by never leaving cooking unattended, using all your appliances appropriately and cleaning them after using them. Additionally, you should never use damaged appliances and you should always keep a fire extinguisher in mind.
Keep in mind, outdoor cooking appliances are fire risks too. Grills and other items could cause fires that spread to the house. Always use these items a safe distance from the home.
Poor Electrical Wiring
Every piece of household wiring could pose a fire risk. The sources of these risks could be frayed cords, improperly installed outlets or ceiling lights, or even unexposed wiring that has been damaged by pests. In any case, the results could be the same. Both electrocution and fire risks could develop any time.
Basic electrical safety practices are to always cover outlets and have frayed wiring repaired. You should not overload outlets beyond their capacity, and always reset your breaker if fuses blow. Furthermore, if you notice electrical odors, flickering or sparks coming from any of your outlets, circuits, lights or appliances, then turn them off and call an electrician.
Whenever you have an open flame in or near your home, you will face fire risks. Flames are going to be present in fireplaces and grills of course, like in the examples above. Candles or gas lights will also have open flames. Additional flames might be present in your gas stove or in a gas-powered water heater. In all cases, they could easily spread if they are not contained properly.
Containing open flames is as simple as using a fireplace screen, placing glass shades around candles and never leaving flammable items near burning wicks. Of course, never leave these fires unattended.
Gas Fire Risks
If your home has a gas line, then there are both fire and explosion risks present at all times. Additionally, the risk of carbon monoxide and gas poisoning is also prevalent. Therefore, if used incorrectly, or if damaged, your appliances could leak toxic substances into the home. It would only take a single spark to potentially ignite into a devastating blaze. You should have gas lines inspected regularly, and only use the appropriate substances in any given line.
Of course, one of the hallmarks of fire safety is your alarm system. Make sure that you have functioning smoke detectors & carbon monoxide alarms in your home, and that you change the batteries regularly. If these items do not function appropriately, then they will not be able to provide you the warning you need in a very scary situation.
Also Read: Detached Structures Coverage on Homeowners Insurance
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