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Your home is your sanctuary, and the place where you should feel the safest. That’s why house fires can have such an emotional impact. They put the health and safety of the people you love at risk, and can destroy a lifetime of memories in mere moments.

Preventing fires is easier than you might think, and taking simple precautions can safeguard you and your family. Check out these 7 easy tips to get started.

  1. Install smoke detectors

    Installing alarms in your home is not only required by law, it’s also your first line of defence against a fire. Alarms should be mounted on every floor and maintained regularly. Don’t forget to:

    • Test your alarm monthly
    • Vacuum each unit every 6 months
    • Change the batteries twice a year
    • Replace your alarms every 10 years
  2. Keep it calm in the kitchen

    Cooking is the number one cause of house fires. It only takes seconds for an unattended pan to spatter grease or overheat and ignite materials around it. Keep your kitchen safe by staying on task, rolling up your sleeves, using lids to avoid splatters, and turning pot handles inward while cooking.

  3. Take it outside

    Sadly, cigarettes are still the leading cause of house fire fatalities. If you’re a smoker, you can reduce your risk by smoking outside and placing your extinguished butts in a can of water or sand. Better yet, consider kicking the habit altogether.

  4. Mind your appliances

    Faulty outlets and old wiring are the main cause of most electrical fires in homes. That’s why it’s important to replace worn cords and not overload outlets.

  5. Use your fireplace safely

    When you light a fire, be sure to open the damper before lighting it and leave the flue open! Keep embers off floors and rugs by using a fireplace screen. Always have a professional clean and inspect your chimney annually.

  6. Be a proactive homeowner

    Look for trouble spots by walking around your home and property and fixing potential hazards. Don’t let flammable materials like newspaper accumulate, use the proper wattage bulbs in lights, and don’t store fuels inside your home.

  7. Have an evacuation plan

    In the 1970s, people generally had, on average, 17 minutes to escape a house fire. Now, it’s less than 3 minutes thanks to new, highly flammable fabrics and raw materials used in household furniture. That’s why it’s so vitally important to have a family escape plan in place. Draw one up today, get your family involved, and practice, practice, practice!

Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure — especially when it comes to the safety of your family, and protecting the place that you call home. If you’d like some guidance in finding the best insurance to protect your home in case of a fire, talk to your group’s broker.