|||Fire Prevention and Safety Information||||Fire Safety Measures|
|||Common Causes of Fires and Preventative Measures||||Safety Features to Look For in a Home|
|||Household Inventory Form to record the value of your personal belongings (Acrobat PDF format)|
The Donegal Insurance Group has been providing fire insurance for well over 100 years. In our many years of claims handling, we have examined countless fire losses which could have been avoided had a small measure of attention been given to the simple prevention and safety information presented below. We would encourage you to read through this information and take whatever measures are appropriate to prevent the devastation that can occur as a result of a fire in your home.
Kitchen Fire While Cooking
- Do not leave food cooking unattended.
- Pay special attention to hot grease or oil.
- Always supervise children.
- Keep a fire extinguisher nearby (make sure it shows A,B,C).
- Salt or baking soda may also be used to extinguish a fire, or smother a fire in a pan by putting a lid on it. Never use water on a grease fire!
Wood/Coal/Pellet Stoves or Fireplace Inserts
- Make sure the stove or insert is UL labeled.
- Make sure the unit is installed properly by a contractor and in accordance with NFPA standards for proper clearances, floor covering, wall covering, flue and chimney.
- Make sure chimney is cleaned regularly - especially at beginning of season.
- Homemade stoves are a common cause of fires and should not be used.
- These units should not be installed in a garage where they can contact combustible materials more readily.
- Only burn these items when you are in the same room.
- Keep open flames away from curtains and other combustible materials.
Outside Burning and Bonfires
- Do not start open fires when ground and surrounding vegetation is dry.
- Do not burn when expecting or experiencing winds 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.
- Make sure all outside antennas are properly grounded.
- Install lightning rods to reduce possibility of fire by lightning strike.
- Ensure that wiring is updated and adequate to handle electrical loads.
- Do not overload circuits - breakers trip and fuses blow when overloaded.
- Have older heating systems checked by a professional for safety.
Prevention is the best way to provide maximum protection of your family. However, in the event of a fire, preparation becomes the key to making certain your family responds appropriately and in a safe manner. Read through the following safety measures to be sure you are prepared in the event that a fire occurs.
Smoke Alarms/Heat Detectors
- Make sure your home is equipped with enough devices to provide early detection of a fire so that your family has enough time to escape safely.
- Place several in accessible locations throughout the home.
- Make sure that family members know where they are located.
- Discuss how to use extinguishers with family members so that they are prepared.
- Make sure devices are listed as "A,B,C" so that they are safe for use on all types of fires. Use of an extinguisher labeled as "A" only will not be effective on a grease or electrical fire, and will only cause the fire to spread more quickly.
- Consider installing sprinkler systems when building or remodeling.
- Plan at least two (2) escape routes from each room.
- Establish a family meeting place outside the home for everyone to gather in the case of a fire.
- Practice fire drills - especially for young children. Provide instruction as follows:
- Crawl on the floor (heat and smoke rise).
- Do not open any doors without first feeling the door for heat. Never touch the handle as it may be extremely hot. If the door is hot, do not open it - use an alternative exit route.
- Go directly to the prearranged meeting place.
- Never return into a burning building to retrieve toys, pets, etc.
We would encourage you to use the following as a checklist in determining how safe your home is at present, or as a guide to follow when moving into a home. The more safety features present, the less likely you are to experience a fire or liability loss. In addition, some of the safety features listed may qualify you for discounts on your homeowners insurance policy.
- Smoke detectors installed
- Heat detectors installed
- Carbon monoxide detectors installed
- Burglar alarm / security system installed
- Fire extinguishers accessible and in working order
- Dead-bolt locks installed
- Sprinkler system installed
- Fire wall exists between multi-family dwellings
- Fire escapes accessible
- Updated wiring adequate for appliances, etc.
- Updated heating system inspected by safety professional
- Supplemental heating systems (such as wood stove, coal stove, pellet stove, fireplace insert) properly installed and adequately maintained.
- Lightning rods installed
- Outside antenna properly grounded
- Pool fenced in and gate kept locked
- Sidewalks in good condition
- Handrails installed on all stairs containing three (3) or more steps
- Dogs kept restrained
- Children's play equipment in good condition
- Flammable liquids (such as gasoline/kerosene) stored safely, preferably outside the house