House fires are scary. They’re also destructive. Some of our highest claims over the years have been from house fires, showing just how devastating these hazards can be. Sometimes they wipe out the home from top to bottom!
We thought it would be a good idea to share how you can protect yourself and your loved ones from house fires. These might seem logical or simple, but you’d be surprised by how many fires start precisely because of the issues mentioned below.
It’s so easy to overload plug points. It might seem reasonable to have all your devices or appliances plugged into a single outlet for easy access, but this can have disastrous results.
It’s also a great idea to invest in surge protectors, which are specialized devices that prevent your plugs and appliances from electrical surges. These surges can easily fry wiring, causing the sparks that could start a fire in your home.
You should also unplug any items you’re not using. We know leaving your phone charger in the plug is easier, but think ‘safety first’.
Make sure your electrical circuits are maintained properly. Electrical faults are common causes of fires, but if your electricity was properly installed and signed off by a certified electrician who issued you with an electrical compliance certificate, your safety is more assured.
Candles, gas heaters, gas stoves, paraffin lamps and the like need special attention. Don’t leave them unattended (and don’t go to sleep while they are alight!) and keep them well clear of flammable items like curtains, rags or chemicals.
We all love a cozy fireplace, but make sure you extinguish the fire before you call it a night. It’s also a good idea to have your chimney serviced regularly to make sure it’s in good working condition.
If you are a smoker, remember to take special precautions to dispose of your cigarette butts correctly and to keep your lit cigarette away from flammable items. Be particularly vigilant about falling asleep with a cigarette in your hand or next to you. If a fire is caused, you’ll be right next to it…
Around the house
Regularly prune your landscaping, so dead vegetation doesn’t pose a fire threat. Consider planting fire-resistant plants like aloe or succulents for even better chances of avoiding a fire in your garden.
Make sure that smokers and gas grills don’t have trees or plants close to or overhanging them.
If you have a lapa, be sure to treat the thatch regularly. The same applies if your house is thatch roofed. Not only is this for your own safety, but if you don’t treat thatch regularly, it could be grounds for rejecting a fire claim.
Keep your gutters clear of debris. Dead leaves collecting there could very easily catch fire from the embers of a braai or chimney.
Ensure that your lightning conductor/s are serviced and that any defective construction is addressed, as issues with these two aspects of your property could have negative implications for a fire claim.
If your home is next to vegetation, there are specific precautions you can take to keep safe:
Other things we recommend
Many businesses have smoke detectors on the premises, but not very many homes do. It’s a good idea to have one installed. But remember that they need to be serviced!
Install a fire extinguisher in your home, to have on-hand during a fire crisis.
Many people have generators these days. Remember that generators need to be professionally installed and that a certificate of compliance needs to be issued to you by the installer.
When there are no barriers, fires can quickly spread inside a house. There’s a simple solution to this: close your bedroom doors. This is called ‘passive protection’ and can save valuable seconds in the event of a fire.
Less clutter in the home means less fuel for a fire and more visibility, so you can see when and where a fire starts.
Be absolutely certain that you have enough insurance cover in case a fire incident happens in your home. Being underinsured will result in you being worse off than before the incident.
Have questions about what you've read? Feel free to contact your local FUSA Insurance Agent and they can help you out!Find an Agent