It’s something that we hope we never have to deal with. Something that we hope never happens to our own family. But it is always a possibility. It is always a possibility that your home could catch on fire, whether it be due to candles left burning or a kitchen accident. No matter what the cause of a fire, it is extremely important to be prepared just in case this disaster happens to you. Here are some tips to be prepared and keep your family safe if your home catches on fire.
Have a plan. It is very important to have an escape plan in place just in case a fire would break out in your home. Make sure all family members are aware of the plan and aware of all of the ways to get out of your home. It may be helpful to even go so far as drawing a map of the escape plan, especially if you have younger children in your home. A good practice would be to run a fire drill as a family to make sure your family can get out of the house safely and in a quick manner. During these drills, try to make up different situations so that your family will know how to handle more than one situation if any of the doors or exits would get blocked off. Finally, after exiting your home, make sure you have a plan in place of where all family members should meet.
Know the safety steps. When a fire breaks out in your home, there are many situations to take into consideration and many safety precautions to take.
- If you’re in a room with the door closed, check to see if there is heat or smoke coming in the cracks around the door.
- If you do see smoke coming from under the door, do not open the door.
- If you don’t see smoke, feel the door to see if it’s hot. If it’s hot, do not open it.
- If the door is not hot, feel the doorknob. If this is hot, don’t open the door.
- Never hide under the bed or in a closet.
- If you can’t get out right away, block the cracks around the door with blankets or clothes so that the heat and smoke can’t get in the room.
- If there is a window but you can’t get out of it, open it and place a piece of clothing or a towel over your mouth so that you don’t breathe in the smoke.
- Yell for help out a window or if you have a phone available, call 911.
- If you’re able to exit, stay low to the ground on your way to the exit.
- If necessary, exit through a window by removing the screen. It is a great idea to have collapsible rescue ladders in each room, just in case a window exit is necessary.
- Although it’s difficult, you must get out as soon as you can which means leaving valuables and other things behind.
- Once you are out of your home, do not go back in.
File your claim right away. After the fire has been taken care of and your family is safe, make sure you file your claim right away. You will want to report your loss as soon as you can. Contact your agent immediately. The will have you submit a proof of loss claim, and you will be able to list all of your losses and the values of each one. The longer you wait to file a claim and contact your agent, the longer you’ll have to wait for the company to send an adjustor to deal with your claim.
Keep track of your living expenses. If your house is in pretty bad shape, you may have to be out of your home for awhile. While you’re out of your home, you’ll be able to be reimbursed for any living expenses so be sure to keep track. Be aware though that you will only be reimbursed for additional living expenses, meaning you will only be reimbursed if you spend more money than you normally would on a daily basis. Although when it comes to a hotel bill, you may be reimbursed for the whole thing. Remember that during the time out of your home, you still have to pay your mortgage, taxes, and insurance.
Although we can all be hopeful that a house fire never happens to us, it is important to be prepared either way. Make sure you take all of the steps that you can to prevent a fire and also take the steps to learn exactly what to do if you were to have a house fire so that you and your family can make it to safety.