Every insurance company has been witness to the loss of a family home, it is an absolutely horrific ordeal of devastation and emotion that the family is forced to endure. Although your first instinct may be to extinguish the fire, it is important that everyone knows what do when a fire becomes uncontrollable. Your family members have only a matter of minutes to safely escape the fire and smoke before it consumes the house. You must have a plan in place!
A typical two-story house will be completely engulfed by fire in less than five minutes, what happens in the first few moments can have a major impact on the outcome.
Erie Mutual strongly believes that loss prevention is the responsibility of everyone, that includes all efforts to keep your family safe with some MUST HAVE items:
Make sure the size of fire extinguisher purchased can be easily handled, a larger extinguisher may only provide you a false sense of better protection. Be certain it can be lifted and handled properly at the time of an emergency. Make sure everyone knows how to use the fire extinguisher, and where it is kept in the kitchen and additional extinguishers in other areas of the home for easy access.
Routine tests each month and replacement of batteries are essential to provide the protection you require. Ensure you have a smoke detector on each level of the house located outside of bedrooms, and avoid installing near vents where air movement may prevent the alarm from working. Your smoke alarm typically has a life of 10 years from purchase, replace when necessary.
If you are purchasing a garden hose, it would be a good idea to select one which is long enough and durable to reach any point around the house if needed. Remember, your safety is most important and the use of a hose is most practical for the start of a small outdoor fire. Never enter a burning home in hopes of extinguishing a fire with a garden hose.
Your two-story home may require escape from fire in the lower level or upstairs window, having a proper ladder easily accessible will allow additional options at the time or urgency. Make sure family members know where to locate the ladder and how to use it properly for escape.
TWO WAYS OUT
Develop a safe escape plan for your family, making sure everyone knows what to do in the event of a real emergency. Discuss and practice in both daylight and night, ensuring that a second exit is always an option if fire or smoke prevents your first planned escape route.
Always remember that when a fire becomes uncontrollable it is time to get out! By the time a smoke detector sounds you must be ready to move. Challenge yourself and family to escape the house as quickly as possible, time your escape and find ways to improve the effectiveness of your plan.
REMEMBER, YOUR SAFE ESCAPE TIME IS LIMITED!
Article Written by Darcy Johnson
Erie Mutual Insurance Manager – Sales, Marketing & Business Development
Please contact us with any questions you may have about this or any other topic related to your insurance.