Of all the threats to your home and property, fires are without a doubt the most life threatening. No matter how new or modern your home is, it is extremely important that you are continually practicing fire preparedness and fire prevention.
The American Red Cross’ 7 Ways to Prepare for a Home Fire is a great place to start. They are listed here with some additional tips (in italics) from your friends at Restore More!
1. Install the right number of smoke alarms. Test them once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year. For less than $10, you can get a battery tester to test your batteries. Get more information on Fire Safety Equipment Testing & Maintenance from the American Red Cross.
2. Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one. Additionally, teach them what smoke or fire smells like.
3. Ensure that all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home and know the family meeting spot outside of your home. It’s also a good idea for parents to teach their kids how to use these escape routes, since they often require climbing out of a window and onto a flat or low-pitched roof.
4. Establish a family emergency communications plan and ensure that all household members know who to contact if they cannot find one another.
5. Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year. Press the smoke alarm test button or yell “fire” to alert everyone that they must get out.
6. Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1. Make sure everyone has access to a cell phone if the landline is not working. Better yet, be sure to use a cell so that you are able to exit the house or office while you are calling.
7. Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.
More Fire Prevention & Preparedness Tips from RestoreMore
- Teach your children to treat water damage as a potential fire risk. Tell them WATER + ELECTRIC = FIRE!
- Talk to your neighbors about establishing a fire preparedness plan. If there is a Neighborhood Watch already in place, teach everyone to look for warning signs. As part of this plan, ask each neighbor close by if you can be a designated safe zone/meeting spot in the event of a fire.
- Test and check your electronics regularly, including all appliances. Crock pots and popcorn poppers over 20 years old should probably be replaced.
- Check all of your wires especially if they are in proximity to any potential water damage spots. The best place to start is the basement.
Flooding can be inevitable depending on where you live, but there are steps you can take to minimize or possibly prevent flood damage to your property.
- Install standpipes or backflow valves to prevent sewer lines from backing up.
- Put in a floodwall or shield.
- Use concrete blocks to lift up your washer, dryer, water heater, oil tank, furnace, and electrical wiring.
Install a sump pump system if you have a basement and/or other below-grade floors.
- Plan your landscape to include plants and vegetation that resist soil erosion. For best results, try planting:
- Ornamental grasses (like mondo, yellow foxtails, and blue fescue) are the best at fighting soil erosion.
- Ground covers and shrubs are also a great way to block foot traffic that causes soil erosion.
- Trees. Any trees!
- Install a flood detection device in your basement. The best models have alarms and/or can call your phone if it senses water intrusion.
- Store important documents and special family keepsakes and heirlooms in areas other than the basement.
What to Do During a Flood
Floods can be pretty scary, but stay calm and focus on keeping your family safe. If time allows:
- Turn off the main power switch.
- Sanitize your bathtub and all sinks, then fill them with clean water in case your water supply becomes contaminated.
- If rising water is making you feel threatened, leave your home or move to upper floors.
- DO NOT TRY TO DRIVE DURING A FLOOD. You can lose control or stall in just 6 inches of water. If you are in your car when water is rising quickly, get out of your car immediately and move to higher ground.
- Stay away from fallen power lines.
- DO NOT TRY TO TRAVEL THROUGH A FLOOD. Remember the 6-inch rule:
- Just 6 inches of water can stall your car or cause you to lose control if you are driving.
- Just 6 inches of water can sweep you away if you try walking through a flood.
What to Do After a Flood
- Check the house for structural damage before entering.
- Use a flashlight, and not a lighter, matches, or a candle if it’s dark.
- Check with your local news or municipalities to ensure when water is safe to drink and bathe in again.
- Have an electrician inspect your system before turning your power on to make sure it’s safe.
- Get started on your claims:
- Take photos with your cell phone or a camera.
- Take inventory of your damaged or destroyed items.
- Document all of your damage.
- Report your claim to your insurance agent as soon as possible.
- Call RestoreMore because we specialize in post-flood cleanup!
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