Where there's smoke, there is fire ... tips for fire prevention
In 2011, there were 1.3 million house fires in the United States.
1.3 million families temporarily displaced.
We attach our memories to things. We often scoff at materialism and we even poke fun at those who tend to accumulate lots of “things” … but the truth is, sometimes, things have meaning.
Your grandmother’s quilt, photos of your children, artwork, the shoes you wore on your first date with your husband, a movie ticket from a special day with a good friend … these are all seemingly meaningless things. Some of us are more sentimental than others.
Out of 1.3 million, it’s a safe bet that some important “things” were lost. We helped approximately 240 customers last year and though we restored a lot of belongings, some items were too far gone. Some of those things were not replaceable. Worse than things are people injured or killed. Nearly 25 thousand people each year are injured or killed by fire and that’s why prevention is so important. Here are some less common tips from Ready.gov, a website dedicated to disaster prevention.
· Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately and do not run cords under rugs or furniture.
· Buy electrical products evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
· If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
· Use electrical extension cords wisely; never overload extension cords or wall sockets.
· Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker.
· Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
· Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.
· Do not cook if you are sleepy, have been drinking alcohol, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy.
· Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a "kid-free zone" of 3 feet around the stove.
· Position barbecue grills at least 10 feet away from siding and deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
Fires can spread from nearly harmless to engulfing in less than 30 seconds. Reavy.gov reports many people do not realize how incredibly fast fire is. Fire is not bright and glowing as it would seem. Especially in a house it quickly produces thick black smoke making everything dark. Additionally, it’s smoke and toxic fumes from the various materials in a home that usually kills people. These hard facts should be enough to help you create a fire escape plan for your family.
As for those belongings, put precious mementos in fireproof safe or box. Have your photos scanned so you have digital copies of all family photos, old and new. Terry and Tonya, two of our team members who help inventory belongings and restore items have thoroughly enjoyed breathing new life into “Grandmother’s China” and even finding lost treasures in the process of moving furniture and cleaning up after a disaster.
Here at SERVPRO, we are used to working with insurance companies to help restore or rebuild homes. In the Blue Ridge area, one of the agents we are blessed to work with is Kevin Panter, who offers the following advice “Insureds need to take their annual review with their insurance agent seriously. It is often determined during a time of loss that the insured’s building limits and personal property contents limits are not adequate. Having proper documentation and adequate limits will help make the claim process much easier. Having cell phone videos and storing proper documentation off the premises will help greatly should a claim arise.” You can reach Kevin through his company www.KevinPanterInsurance.com .
“Our whole reason for existing as a business is to help our customers feel confident and comfortable as we restore their homes or businesses to preloss conditions. When disaster, small or large, strikes, you feel like you’ve lost control. We want to help you get it back. Our crews are often praised for their compassion. It is truly heartfelt,” explains Carnie Wall, co-owner.