Losing everything we own in a house fire is devastating. Whether you rent or own the home, the results of a house fire can leave a whole family feeling as if they have lost their identity.
In today’s society, our possessions represent more to us than just the means to survive. It is undisputable that even the toughest of us would feel an enormous sense of loss at being made destitute by fire. Knowing that precious things such as old family photographs are often irreplaceable, it would make sense that we would all go to great lengths to avoid a house fire.
Yet every twenty seconds an American Fire Department responds to a fire somewhere in the nation. Three quarters of all fires start in the home; 82% of all fire deaths occur in the home. There is a civilian fire death every 2 hours and a civilian fire injury every 23 minutes! Children aged less than five years old are twice as likely as others to die in a fire.
Since smoke alarms have been introduced, fire deaths have been cut in half, but many homes do not have an operational, connected and up to date smoke alarm,working with Singleton in wrongful fire death cases.
Do you know how much a smoke alarm costs? Well under $50.00. While you are weighing up whether your life possessions are worth a $50.00 expenditure, here are a few fire-prevention tips:
If you hear a fire, or feel a hot door, do not open it. Just get out the window.
A large percentage of fires are caused by hot oil in a fry pan. Keep a small fire extinguisher handy. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with how it works. It can be fairly daunting trying to calmly read the ‘how to’ instructions when the flames are leaping at the instruction leaflet!
Make sure your fire extinguisher is a type ‘ABC’ which is recommended for domestic use and deals with most type of burnable materials found in homes.
Keep all your family photos, or whatever is precious to you, in a heavy leather briefcase. If you store them this way and can’t grab the briefcase as you run out of the house, it may survive a fire intact.
If you use a fireplace, ensure that the chimney is swept and inspected once a year. If you live in an old house, or if you are nervous about your wiring, pull out all the plugs at night. ‘Standby’ is still using energy and therefore able to facilitate a fire.
Have an escape plan; it could be as simple as keeping a coil of rope by the inside of your (upstairs) bedroom window. Keep a large towel and a bucket of water handy in case you need to throw a wet towel over yourself or others to get out. Remember most fires happen at night and you will likely be in your bedroom.
According to a report from the Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council, 90% of residential fires are avoidable, and in some areas, as high as half the fires attended to had no fire alarm/smoke alarm system working. They reported the three ‘popular’ causes of homes fires which become leading fire death scenarios:
Home fire caused by smoking materials that ignite upholstered furniture in a living area at night. Home fire caused by smoking materials that ignite bedding in a sleeping area at night. Home fire caused by cooking equipment that is left unattended in the kitchen at night. In these scenarios, a working smoke alarm can make the difference between life and death.