Fire Damage Tips: Don’t let a Home Fire become Your Funeral Pyre
From water damage to mold infestations, there are a plethora of disaster scenarios that can harm your home’s value, make family members ill and even claim lives. But the most frightening type of home disaster that happens more often than we would like to think is a home fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association seven people die every single day in reported U.S. home fires. The report reveals that one in every 320 households per year reported a home fire during a five-year period and that these fires caused approximately 2,570 deaths, 13,210 injuries and a staggering $7.2 billion in property damage. The data also revealed that half the home fire-related deaths occurred between 11:00PM and 7:00AM, and 60 percent of them had fire alarms that were not operational. These statistics raise a red flag warning, and demand that homeowners start paying attention: make sure all flame-producing objects are extinguished before going to bed, have functioning smoke detectors, and take some extra steps to help promote safety in the event your home falls prey to flames.
Have an Evacuation Plan
Just ask any fire damage restoration company what you as a homeowner can do to lower the risk of a life-claiming home fire, and they will tell you to have an evacuation plan. Gather all family members so that everyone is included in making the fire escape plan. Walk through your house and take note of all possible exits and escape routes. If you have young children it would be advantageous to draw out the escape plan by mapping out your home’s floor plan while marking at least two ways out from each room that includes window exits.
If you have pets, assign a responsible adult with the task of quickly retrieving the family pet. It is not a good idea to give a child this task, as they can become more easily distracted and may not think and act as quickly and clearly as an adult.
You should also choose a meeting point located somewhere outside the home. You could arrange to meet at a neighbor’s house, in front of that big oak tree in your front yard, or by the mailbox out on the roadside.
It goes without saying that all of your smoke detectors should be in good working order, but are they located in the right places? Every bedroom should have a smoke alarm, as well as the immediate areas outside each bedroom on every level of the home. These alarms should be interconnected so that when one sounds, they all go off. In some circumstances insurance companies may not cover smoke and fire damage if the alarms are not interconnected.
If you have an older home it would be wise to have an electrician check the home’s wiring. In many cases split wires that aren’t properly capped off can pose big risks, especially if they are near flammable insulation. All it takes is a spark and flames can ignite within your walls. As the fire burns outwards and more oxygen enters the wall cavity, the flames will grow stronger and can easily expand in no time.
Call 911, Call a Restoration Company
Once all family members and pets are safe and far removed from the home, call 911. Under no circumstances should you try fighting the fire from within the home on your own. Walls can collapse, ceilings can fall down, and floors can give out very quickly. Once the fire department is on the way, call a licensed fire damage restoration company that is also licensed and bonded to perform water damage remediation services. Remember, fire fighters spray hundreds of gallons of water into homes to put out fires. What homeowners are left with is often a charred, water-logged mess that requires a variety of specialty techniques to ensure the home is restored to its original condition. But the safety of your family always comes first. By having an escape plan and taking some extra safety measures, you can better avoid becoming one of the statistics lost to the pyres of fire tragedy.