Fire Prevention for Homeowners

December 20, 2019

Electricity short circuit / Electrical failure resulting in electricity wire burnt

At the Donegal Insurance Group, we’ve been providing fire insurance for over 130 years. We’ve seen countless fire losses that could have been avoided if just a small measure of attention was given to prevention and safety.

Here are a few common causes of fires and how to prevent them:

Fire Risks in the Kitchen
  • Avoid leaving food unattended when cooking.
  • Pay special attention to hot grease or oil.
  • Always supervise children in this kitchen.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
  • Never use water on a grease fire! Salt or baking soda can  be used to extinguish a fire or smother a fire in a pan by putting a lid on it.
Wood/Coal/Pellet Stoves or Fireplace Inserts
  • Make sure your stove or insert has a “UL” label on it.
  • Make sure your stove was installed properly by a contractor, according to NFPA standards for proper clearances, floor covering, wall covering, flue and chimney.
  • Your chimney should be cleaned regularly, especially at the beginning of the cold weather season.
  • Never use homemade stoves, which are a common cause of fires.
  • Don’t install or use stoves in a garage; they can contact combustible materials more readily.
Candles/Potpourri Burners
  • Burn candles and potpourri only when you are in the room.
  • Keep open flames away from curtains and other combustible materials.
Outside Burning and Bonfires
  • Don’t start open fires when the ground and surrounding vegetation is dry.
  • Large brush piles shouldn’t be burned when winds are stronger than a gentle breeze.
  • Always have a strong water source ready in case a fire begins to get out of control.
  • Stay with the fire at all times!
  • When finished, rake through the ashes to ensure that all coals are cooled.
Other Considerations
  • Install lightning rods to reduce possibility of fire by lightning strike.
  • Be sure that your home’s wiring is updated and able to handle electrical loads.
  • Don’t overload circuits. Breakers trip and fuses blow when overloaded.
  • If you have an older heating system, get it checked by a professional for safety.

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