October is Fire Prevention Month, making it the perfect time to re-examine how prepared your household is in the unfortunate event of a fire.
- Protecting your family and your home from a fire starts with installing smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
- Test your smoke alarms every month. If they aren’t working, be sure to change the batteries.
- Check the manufactured date on the back of your smoke alarm and replace every 10 years.
- Talk with your household about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.
- Ensure everyone in the home knows how to call 9-1-1.
- Do not leave candles, space heaters or active fireplaces unattended, and double check that all are properly extinguished or turned off when you leave the house or go to bed.
Of course, accidents happen and even the most prepared homes can still experience a fire. If a fire occurs in your home be sure to get out, stay out, and call for help. DO NOT go back inside for any reason. When you regain access to your property, go through your home and document all your possessions that were damaged or destroyed. Call your broker or independent agent immediately to expedite any claims you may have.
Remember that if your neighbor had a fire your home still may have been impacted by the extreme heat, so you will need to have it thoroughly inspected by an experienced and qualified professional such as a contactor or structural engineer.
These smart habits will not only test your preparedness, but will also help you prevent excessive damage or loss. Keep in mind that when disaster strikes, the time to prepare has long passed.