When the extremely cold weather and snow arrived in Florida, did it occur to you as a homeowner to rethink fire safety? As public adjusters who care deeply about homeowners, we think this is the perfect time to remind our Noble Public Adjusting Group blog readers about how to keep your Florida home safe from fire.
The cold weather always has homeowners in Florida and across the US spending more time at home. This extra time indoors increases the risks of house fires. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says there are more than 360,000 home structure fires each year, resulting in about $6-8 billion dollars in damage.
The causes of these fires range from food left unattended on the stove to candles left burning. From the moment a fire starts to the point where the structure is fully engulfed is usually less than two minutes, which is why it is so important for occupants to get out of the home as quickly as possible and not try to put out a large fire themselves. A majority of these fires are preventable with some forethought and care to minimize the risks.
**Before you read the following fire safety tips for Florida homeowners, please take a few minutes to look at the image above this post. There you will see a picture guideline for where smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and fire extinguishers should be placed in your home for optimum fire safety. This image might be a great one to download, print and post on a wall in your Florida home.
The Main Causes of Fires in the Home
As is the case all year round, the best way to keep your Florida home safe from fire is to use common sense. If something looks dangerous, it probably is. But to help even further, below we have created a list of the major causes of fires in the home. Protect your greatest asset, your home, and family, but taking extra precautions to prevent a home fire this winter in Florida by taking note of this list.
- Candles–Most all of us love lighting candles. They provide a pleasing mood and often make our home smell nice. However, from 2007-2011, the NFPA says there was an average of 10,630 fires in the U.S. that were started by candles, causing 115 deaths, 903 injuries and approximately $418 million in property damage. That is an average of 29 candle fires per day. If you are a Florida homeowner and a candle person, just be sure not to light candles close to drapes, clothing, bedding, or other flammable material. And always make sure to blow out any lit candles completely before retiring to bed.
- Smoking–Since smoking is no longer considered cool, the number of smoking-related fires in homes has gone done. But there are still people who smoke in their home. Interestingly, the risk of dying in a house fire caused by smoking increases with age up to age 85. Almost half the individuals killed in these types of house fires were 65 or older. If you smoke, just make sure you never smoke in bed. And better yet, think about forming the habit of only smoking outside. Not only will you prevent a home fire due to smoking accidents, your guest will appreciate your home not smelling like an ashtray.
- Faulty Electrical or Lighting–Electrical fires can have a number of different origins. They can be caused by an equipment malfunction, from an overloaded circuit or extension cord, or from an overheated light bulb, space heater, washer, dryer or other appliance. It stands to reason there are more home fires during the holiday season when people are careless around Christmas trees. A dry Christmas tree is a fire waiting to happen, so keep yours watered well at all times. Also, don’t overload outlets or cords, make sure you have the right cord for the job, and never leave Christmas lights inside your Florida home on when you are away or asleep.
- Cooking–Winter months also find most homeowners cooking more than usual inside, especially around the holidays. And it is well worth noting that cooking is the #1 cause of house fires. The NFPA says that 40% of all house fires, or an average of 156,600 per year, start this way, causing approximately $853 million in property damage. Two-thirds of the fires started because the food or other materials caught fire. Fires are more likely to start on a range (57%) as compared to the oven (16%), mainly due to frying. Most injuries occur when the cook tried to put out the fire. To prevent a home fire caused by cooking, follow these tips: *Be alert when cooking and don’t leave food unattended. *Don’t throw water on a grease fire, put a lid on the pan to smother the fire, If an oven fire flares up, turn off the oven and leave the door shut until the fire extinguishes itself. *Keep clothing, pot holders, paper towels and other flammable items away from fires. *Having working smoke detectors in the house and keep a fire extinguisher nearby just in case.
Hopefully being aware of these main causes of home fires will help Florida homeowners and those across our great land prevent having a fire in their home. But if you are unfortunate enough to experience a fire at your home, we are here for you as your Florida public adjuster. Noble would suggest strongly that you call us first, even before the insurance company to guarantee you receive the highest claim payout possible. However, we can help with your fire insurance claim for your home or business property at any stage of the claim process.