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In 2011, 13,910 Americans suffered injuries and 2,520 Americans died in residential fires. Residential fires are responsible for 66 percent of U.S. fire fatalities each year and many of these tragedies were preventable1. Here are some of the most common ways that fires start:
Let’s look at some of the ways to help prevent a fire or stop the fire from spreading before it injures or kills.
Every home should have at least one working smoke detector. If your Florida or South Carolina home is multi-level, install a working smoke detector on every floor. Working smoke detectors can double an occupant’s chance of surviving a fire.
Homeowners and renters should test smoke detectors regularly and replace batteries at least once a year. Smoke detectors themselves should be replaced after 10 years of service or as recommended by the manufacturer.
Every household should have at least one fire extinguisher. Before purchasing fire extinguishers, consider the size of your home and the most likely origins of a fire. For example, larger homes may need easily accessible fire extinguishers in high-risk areas like the laundry room or the garage.
Different types of fires require different types of extinguishers. There are five different types of extinguishing agents3. Fire extinguishers may be designed to handle one type of fire or may be multi-purpose, such as those labeled “B-C” or “A-B-C” that can be used on two or more of the fire types shown below.
Types of Fire Extinguishers
Always choose the extinguisher best suited to your home’s likely fire origins.
Here are some proactive measures that should be considered in helping prevent residential electrical fires:
Portable heaters need space. Do not keep anything combustible within three feet of a portable heater. Do not leave a portable heater running when no one is home. Follow manufacturer maintenance and replacement guidelines.
When using a fireplace, be sure to use a fire screen to prevent cinders from escaping to the surrounding carpet and furniture. Have your chimney cleaned annually. Creosote buildup can start a chimney fire that could easily spread to the rest of the home.
When home fire sprinklers are used with working smoke alarms, fire survival rates increase greatly. If a fire started, sprinklers stop or slow its progress, allowing occupants to escape and decreasing damage to the home.
A monitored fire alarm system in your home can also reduce the severity of fire damage. If a fire starts while no occupants are home or are sleeping, the fire could grow and cause extensive damage before the occupants become aware of it.
Monitored fire alarms and sprinklers can reduce your homeowners insurance premiums. Your Florida or South Carolina homeowners insurance agent can help you determine the benefits of installing these important safety measures.
Every homeowner should develop an emergency evacuation plan for potential disasters. A fire can occur in any home at any time. Consider the unique dangers a fire presents when determining your family’s emergency evacuation plan. Plan for the worst and significantly increase your chance of survival in the event of a home fire.