How safe is your home from a fire? And if the worst happened, would you know what to do?
These are potentially life-saving questions every adult should be able to answer because every year there are more than 1.3 million fires in US homes — more than 5,600 in Maine alone, 150-plus of them in Lincoln County and about 25 right here in Damariscotta.*
Yet these basic actions can protect your home and your family from this most deadly of perils.
- Installing smoke alarms, and regularly maintaining them, is the single most important action you can take to alert you to a fire.
- Schedule a yearly reminder to replace your batteries.
Most Home Fires Start in the Kitchen
- Remain in the kitchen when using the stovetop and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
- Keep anything flammable well clear of the stovetop.
- Don’t use the stove if you’re sleepy or have consumed alcohol.
- Keep a first aid kit handy and know how to deal with burns.
- Finally, make sure you know how to deal with a stovetop fire. If you don’t, check out this guide: https://tinyurl.com/stovetop-fire
When the Heat is On
- Ensure plenty of space (at least 3 feet) around heating equipment.
- Switch off portable equipment when you leave the room.
- Ensure you use the right kind of fuel as specified by manufacturers.
- Open fires should be protected by a sturdy screen and your chimney kept clean.
- If you’re installing any type of stationary heating system it should be done by a professional and conform to city codes.
Have a Plan
- Draw a map of your home, showing all doors and windows.
- All windows and doors should open easily so you can identify two ways out of each room.
- If you’re in a two or more storied home have accessible and manageable rope ladders or other means of escape.
- Identify a meeting place outside the home where all the occupants can gather.
- Make sure your house or building number can be seen from the street by emergency services.
- Memorize the number of the local fire department so you can call them as well as 911.
- Discuss your plan with the family and test it out.
Fires happen. It’s a fact. And although numbers of incidents have gradually fallen over the decades, everyone is at risk.
So, in addition to following these fire safety precautions, it’s also important to have insurance coverage to protect your investment in your home, whether you own it or rent it.
Not only that, but it’s crucial that your home insurance accurately reflects both your personal possessions and if you own the home, the cost of repairing or rebuilding it.
If you’d like to check or discuss any of these issues, please contact your agent at 207-563-3435.
* Source: 2017 Annual Report of the Maine State Fire Marshall