Though often overshadowed by hurricanes and earthquakes, fire remains one of the greatest risks facing homeowners. Consider the following:
- U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,375,000 fires in 2012
- Residential fires caused 2,450 deaths and 13,900 injuries in 2011
- On average, 7 people per day die in U.S. home fires
- Home fires occur more frequently in the winter and on the weekends
- Cooking is the leading cause of residential fires, followed by heating, electrical malfunction, unintentional/careless conduct, intentional and open flame
Statistics show that residential fires are not only becoming more frequent, but more expensive. According to FEMA’s U.S. Fire Administration, there were 364,500 residential fires in 2011 that caused over $6.5 billion in losses. To avoid becoming another statistic, homeowners must take effective protective measures, such as:
- Installing smoke alarms, preferably those with both photoelectric and ionization sensors, on every level of your homeIand outside bedrooms, testing them monthly, replacing batteries yearly, and teaching children what they sound like and what to do when they hear it
- Placing properly maintained fire extinguishers strategically throughout the home, and making sure children know where they are and how to use them
- Maintaining and repairing electrical systems, such as wiring and outlets
- Inspecting and cleaning chimneys, fireplaces, furnaces, etc. annually
- Using appliances, especially space heaters properly
- Cooking safely
- Properly using and storing flammable materials
Since it is impossible to completely eliminate the risk, homeowners and renters should check with their insurance agent to make sure they are adequately insured in the event of a fire. In some cases, a personal property floater or ordinance and law coverage may be necessary.
If you would like more information about homeowners’ insurance or would like to discuss your insurance needs, please contact us.
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