How to Protect Your Valuables from Fire
A house fire is a tragedy that can strike day or night, any time of year. Families should make fire safety drills a yearly routine in order to avoid the costly and tragic impact of this household disaster. Adequate preparation will help prevent the loss of property and the loss of life.
As a homeowner, there are a few key fire prevention measures that you can put into place in order to protect your family and your valuables.
Household Fire Safety
To prevent fire in all parts of the home, take some basic precautions. Areas of the house with clear fire hazards – such as the kitchen and near the fireplace or grill – should have an extinguisher in an easy to reach location. Your home should also have smoke detectors on every level. Check the batteries and test the alarms on a regular basis. Consider installing a sprinkler system and spar arrestors for increased security.
Safety should be your first priority. Talk to your family members and devise an evacuation plan. Go through a practice run with the members of your household to ensure that everyone knows their role.
There are two other important factors to consider when implementing fire safety measures: a fireproof safe and homeowner’s insurance.
To protect the most important documents kept in your home, invest in a fireproof safe. Valuables such as birth certificates, savings bonds, passports, and other vital papers have to be stored in a fire safe. It will withstand the heat until you can return to collect it. Even people who rent their home should purchase one of these useful items. The things contained within a heat resistant safe will help you rebuild your life should you ever experience the tragedy of a household fire.
When selecting a safe, ensure that it has been tested and can withstand a fire. Each fire safe has been rated by the manufacturer to resist heat up to a certain temperature and for a particular duration of time. The temperature inside it should be guaranteed to not exceed 400 degrees, the temperature which will cause the paper in the box to ignite. If you keep electronic or data backup drives inside the safe, you should choose a box that is certified not to go over 125 degrees. Safe models come with both keyed and combination locks.
Also, read our 5 Foolproof Tips for Buying a Fire Resistant Safe.
It’s important to note that not all fireproof safes are waterproof. Store your important documents in a water-tight plastic bag to keep them from being ruined when the flames are put out.
One of the important documents stored in the fire-resistant safe is a copy of the insurance policy. It’s impossible to entirely prevent disasters, that’s why you need the right kind of insurance. Make sure your homeowner’s insurance policy will help replace household items that are lost to fire, smoke, or heat damage. Not all insurance policies are the same, though. Carefully consider the coverage allowance, deductible, and payout limits. Talk with your insurance agent to confirm that your policy is appropriate.
Make a detailed list of all of your prized possessions in the house, such as jewelry, furniture, and appliances. Take pictures of the items to include with the list. This documentation will be helpful if you have to make an insurance claim in case of a disaster. Keep this, along with your homeowner’s insurance policy numbers and agent’s contact information, stored in a fireproof safe.
What Are the Causes of House Fires?
Hot, dry seasonal weather increases the risk of wildfire during the hottest summer months. Though there are many other common causes of house fires that are an on-going threat. Realizing that house fires can strike at any time is the first step towards taking appropriate fire prevention measures.
Where Are Fire Hazards Located in the House?
It’s important to first understand what causes most house fires. The main causes of house fires include cooking accidents, portable heaters, smoking in the home, faulty appliances and electrical wiring and unattended candles. Here are some of the most common residential fire hazards in the different areas of the home.
Stoves, ovens, toasters, small ovens, coffeemakers, and other heat-generating appliances all have the potential to cause fires. Grease fires can ignite in pots and pans left unattended on the stovetop. Gas burners not turned completely off can ignite nearby cloth or paper. Even the heat rising from a simple toaster should be cause for concern.
Candles, incense, electric blankets, heating pads, and electric candle warmers are frequently found in bedrooms; any of these can be the source of fire or heat-related damage. Especially when left unmonitored, these items can scorch nearby material.
Fireplaces and wood burning stoves can ignite material that is placed too near. Stray sparks from a fireplace can land on curtains, carpet, and even clothing. Ash and cigarette butts not properly disposed of can start a slow burn out of sight.
Porch and Deck
Lit garden torches and barbecue grills can get out of hand and cause a bigger fire. They should always be kept away from the house, fence, tablecloth or foliage in the yard.
Safe Opening & Installation Services
Fire safes are a wise investment that every homeowner should seriously consider. The professional locksmiths at Great Valley Lockshop can install new safes in commercial and residential buildings or provide assistance opening safes. Call GV Lock at (610) 644-5334 or request a free estimate online.