Seven Tips for Protecting Your Home

Residence fires caused 2,565 deaths (not including firefighters) and nearly $7.8 billion in damage in 2009, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Even though it’s improbable to completely avoid fires, there are multiple measures you can take to safeguard your family, residence and valuables from the flames.

Assess smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Test these devices monthly to make certain they are working correctly and replace the batteries every year. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission advises putting at least one smoke detector on each level of your residence. At no time disable these detectors even if they go off even though cooking or showering.

Install fire extinguishers. The NFAP advises keeping extinguishers near exits of your residence and in the kitchen where nearly all home fires start. A multi-purpose extinguisher that is huge adequate to put out a little fire but isn’t too heavy to handle is optimal. Be certain to read all the manufacturer’s instructions on how to correctly operate the device.

Create a residence escape plan. Draw a map of your home that contains all the doors and windows and consult a fire escape plan along with all family members. Practice the escape route at least annually.

Keep it clean. Remove leaves and debris from encompassing the property and clean out the gutters. It’s also critical to trim back every shrubs or tree limbs that are close to your residence. All of these things can be potential fire hazards.

Make certain your residence is fully insured. Talk to your independent insurance agent to ensure your residence is fully covered for fire loss and that you have loss-of-use coverage in the event your residence becomes uninhabitable.

Take a residence inventory. Make a list of everything valuable in your residence and document it along with photos and video. Keeping a record of all your belongings will assist you file a claim if you experience a fire or other loss.

Safeguard critical documents. Keep a copy of your homeowner’s policy, residence inventory, and other critical documents, such as passports, legal documents and birth and marriage certificates in a fireproof lockbox or at an off-site location.