Weekly Feature

2017-10-11 / Editorial

Safety plans help prepare for an emergency

Since October is Fire Safety Month, it’s important for homeowners to review safety tips with their families so they will be prepared in the event of a fire emergency. This is also a good time to make sure that your home is insured properly before an incident occurs.

According to the Professional Insurance Agents of New York, insurers generally recommend that people insure their home for its full replacement cost, which means it is insured under a homeowners policy for 100 percent of the cost of repairing or rebuilding it at the time it becomes necessary.

“The best way to practice fire safety is to prevent one in the first place,” said Fred Holender, president of PIANY. “A tragedy such as a fire can happen at any moment. Professional, independent insurance agents live in the communities where we do business. The safety of our friends and neighbors is always our priority.” According to the National Fire Protection Association, a house fire happened every 86 seconds in 2015, resulting in $14.3 billion in property damage. PIANY offers these general tips to prevent fire in your home:

Every home should have working smoke detectors. Ideally, they should be placed on every floor and in every bedroom.

Check all electrical appliances, cords and outlets. Make sure they are in good condition without loose or frayed cords or plugs.

Don’t run electrical cords under rugs.

Don’t let lamps and/or night lights touch bedspreads, curtains or other fabrics.

Don’t leave the kitchen if the stove is in use. If you must leave the area, turn off the burners. Never leave a space heater on when you are not in the room. Don’t go to sleep with it on. Use it to warm the bedroom, but shut it off before you climb into bed, PIANY advises.

It is also recommended that a chimney be cleaned professionally at least once a year and that you make sure it’s kept clean and covered with a screen to keep the sparks from jumping out.

Developing and practicing a safety plan is beneficial, as well. Families can identify and designate a safe family meeting spot to practice so that everybody is on the same page in case of an actual fire in the home.

These drills can make a difference in the event of a real emergency. Rehearsing different scenarios beforehand will waste less time trying to figure out what to do in the event of fire and can protect families from harm.

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