Home heating is the second leading cause of a home fire, according to the American Red Cross. The peak months for home heating fires are December, January and February. According to the 2011-2015 National Fire Protection Association’s “Home Structure Fires” report:
Ø Heating equipment was involved in an estimated 54,030 U.S. home structure fires.
Ø The home heating fires are responsible for 480 civilian deaths.
Ø The home heating fires are responsible for 1,470 civilian injuries.
Ø The home heating fires are response for $1.1 billion in property damage.
Faulty Wiring and Outlets:
- Check the electrical cords throughout your home for signs of fraying.
- Be aware of the capacity of your home’s electrical system…Do NOT overload your circuits.
- Understand the difference between surge protectors and power strips – both allow you to plug in multiple electronic devices, but only the surge protector will help protect these devices from a power spike.
- Do not pinch or cover electrical cords with items such as rugs.
Alternative Heating Sources:
- Avoid using an older space heater, as it may not have adequate safety features compared to newer units.
- Do not place a space heater near furniture, curtains, other objects that could easily catch on fire.
- To control a grease fire, carefully slide a lid over the pan to smother the flames, and then turn off the burner.
- Plug all kitchen appliances, including microwaves, toasters and coffee makers, directly into a wall outlet. Never use an extension cord as it can overheat and cause a fire.
Tips for Filing Claims
- Make a list of everything you’ve lost and do NOT throw anything away.
- File your fire insurance claim as soon as possible, and make sure you include the following information (“Proof of Loss” claim):
o Date/type of loss
o Location of damage
o Any related injuries
o Others involved
o Condition of home
o Description of damaged contents
o If you need temporary repairs
o Copy of the police report
- Keep your receipts and take photos.
o This relates to spending money on temporary housing, investing in immediate/emergency repairs, or needing to spend to secure your property
o Make sure you’ve taken as many photos/videos as you can – if safety allows for it.