Ensuring your Families Safety Beyond Insurance Part 1: Fire Prevention - Capstone Brokerage

Ensuring Your Families Safety Beyond Homeowner's Insurance

By: Mary Thompson, Capstone Brokerage President, April 21, 2016

It surprises me all the time how little prepared families are for an emergency situation in their home. I am a grandmother, mother, and caretaker of my elderly father. In my home we have 4 generations and I often think to myself, are we prepared for an emergency? I decided to start a safety series to help not only prepare my own family but to also help others ensure that they are educated and prepared for emergencies.

One of my worst nightmares is waking up to a smoke-filled home with fire alarms going off. Which is why I want to start with fire prevention and fire safety. It is imperative for every home to check for potential fire hazards in the home as well as to create an emergency family evacuation and safety plan. Fire prevention by definition is a measure of practices directed toward the prevention and suppression of destructive fires. I recommend creating a fire prevention checklist and plan as a family, that way everyone is involved.

Examples of potential fire issues that are very easy to prevent:

Fire Hazard:
Young children are often fascinated with electrical outlets. The risk is that they put something into one that can shock them and potentially start a fire.

Fire Prevention Solution:
The most common solution is to plug all outlets with child protective covers. Also be consistent with children and use words that they will understand such as “that can give you an “ouchie”, please don’t touch that,” followed by a distraction.

Fire Hazard:

An elderly couple lives alone one suffers from mild dementia, on occasion he is known to leave the stove on after cooking.

Fire Prevention Solution:
Have the person start the habit of setting a timer anytime they plan to cook. Even place a reminder on the stove something simple as, “set the timer before cooking.” This may help remind the person when they are finished using the stove to go back and check that it is off.

Work together as a family to think about potential fire hazards in your home and simple solutions to help decrease the risk. Remember the best way to avoid a fire is to practice fire prevention.

Fire Prevention

A fire Prevention checklist is also beneficial for families to create in their home. Some examples of items that should be looked at when creating a fire prevention checklist:

– Check that all cords are in good condition
– Check that electrical appliances are in working condition
– Check light sources for correct bulb wattage
– Check that smoke alarms are in working order
– Be sure to turn off curling irons and flat irons after use
– Keep anything electrical away from water sources

I found this checklist very helpful as well: Fire Safety Prevention Checklist

Every few months it is smart to check all electrical appliances, cords, outlets, and switches. Be sure they are all in good condition. Did you know that phone charger with a split wire is a potential fire hazard? Check extension cords and lighting fixtures. It is important to not overload a light with a bulb that is not the right wattage for the light. These simple things can be the difference between a potential disaster and a simple fix.

For most Americans a home is the most valuable asset. It is important to have a homeowner’s insurance policy in place to protect your home in the case of a home fire. The National Fire Protection Association reports an average of 357,000 residential fires annually. Be prepared and understand what your homeowners or renters insurance policy covers. Know what is covered and what is not; be sure to have your valuable property listed on your homeowner’s insurance policy. Most common homeowners insurance policies cover at a minimum, dwelling coverage, personal property up to certain limits, detached structures such as sheds, fences, etc. as well coverage for additional costs of having to be displaced in the even t of a qualifying event.

Please understand this is just advice on fire prevention. Use this article as a resource to reduce the chance of a fire situation in your home, do your research and become familiar with a plan of action that suits your family’s specific situation and home environment. Kidshealth.org I have found to be a very good resource for families with young children. Fire prevention is the best way to prevent a fire and keep your family safe.

As always understand your insurance coverage and discuss any concerns you may have with your insurance agent or advisor. A few things to think about… does your family know what to do if a fire started in your home? What if someone is experiencing a medical emergency? Is your family equipped in the event of a power outage ? Does your family have a safety plan in place? If you answered no to any of these questions be sure to follow our series “Ensuring Your Families Safety Beyond Insurance” over the next few months.