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Fire Prevention Tips Everyone Should Know

Horrified woman dealing with a stove fire

In the time it takes you to read this article, two homes somewhere in the United States have caught fire.

That’s how common house fires are in America: there’s one every 86 seconds, according to the National Fire Prevention Association.

That’s a lot of fires, and a lot of PA fire claims.

Years of dealing with PA fire claims have taught us all the ways fires can happen and some of the ways fires can be avoided. Here are some fire prevention tips everyone should know.

Protecting your kitchen

  • Never leave the stove unattended while cooking, especially when you’re frying food. It’s one of the simplest fire prevention methods, but unattended food is the leading cause of fires.
  • Keep the stove and counter clear of clutter, grease and flammable materials. You’ll be able to act faster in an emergency when you have more space.
  • Set a time to remind you when to shut off the stove or oven. You’ll save your dinner and protect your home and family.
  • Avoid loose clothing. Billowy sleeves and hanging accessories can catch fire.

Controlling a pan fire

  • Cover the pan with a lid or a larger pan turned upside down.
  • Turn off the heat.
  • Spray the pan with a fire extinguisher. If you don’t have access to an extinguisher, douse the burning oil with baking soda. Do not use sugar or flour, as these can cause the fire to flare up and result in serious or possibly fatal burns.
  • Don’t throw water on the pan. Don’t run with the pan. Either of these actions can cause the burning oil to splatter or spread.

Laundry room fire safety

  • Your dryer duct needs to vent outdoors, not into another part of your home. The air discharging from the dryer can contain flammable gases.
  • Ducts should be made from metal and not plastic, which can melt or ignite.
  • Make sure the ducts are free from lint by cleaning the lint trap every time you use the dryer.

Candles and fireplaces

  • Never leave fires unattended, no matter how small. Even a little candle can cause a massive blaze if it’s overturned.
  • Keep candles on non-flammable surfaces and away from paper, curtains or anything else that can catch fire.
  • Keep a screen in front of your fireplace. It needs to be large and sturdy enough to prevent logs from rolling out.
  • Have your woodstoves and chimneys inspected and cleaned each year.
  • Never use the fireplace to burn trash, paper or green wood. Paper can drift up through your chimney and catch fire on your roof.
  • When you’re done using the fireplace, extinguish the fire, cool the ashes and keep them sealed away in a metal container away from your home.

Appliances and electronics

  • Buy electrical products bearing a stamp of approval from a nationally recognized lab such as UL.
  • Check the product labels for fire safety tips and warnings
  • Replace frayed wires.
  • Use three-pronged plugs in three-slot outlets and two-pronged plugs in two-slot outlets.
  • When using a portable space heater, keep it at least four feet from any flammable surfaces or objects. Make sure it has a thermostat control mechanism that shuts the heater off when it falls over and always use it in a well-ventilated room.
  • If you use a kerosene heater, kerosene should be the only fuel you give it.

Smoke alarms

  • Install dual-sensor smoke alarms and spread them through your home.
  • Test alarm batteries every month and replace them at least once a year.
  • Never disable your smoke alarm, even if you’re cooking and worried about setting it off.

What if I’ve had a fire?

We realize that not everyone can be 100 percent vigilant 100 percent of the time. Years of handling PA fire claims have taught us that accidents can happen.

And in the wake of a fire, finding out what your insurance will cover – or doesn’t cover – can be a tricky process during an already-stressful time.

That’s where a public adjuster can help. The experts at Interstate Public Adjusters have the unique skills needed to help you get around whatever obstacles insurance companies put in the path to settling PA fire claims.

We like to say that we hope you never have reason to call us. But if you do suffer a fire, know that we’ll use all of our 35 years of experience in dealing with PA fire claims to make sure your rights are protected. Contact us to learn more.

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