To Our Valued Customers:
We are pleased to share Mapfre Insurances' latest blog content with you; helping you prepare for the coming winter.
Our first topic is: fire safety. Below you will find tips for keeping your home and family safe during the winter months.
Over the next few weeks we will share tips on home safety, safe driving, ice dams and more. We hope you find this winter preparation campaign useful. Thank you for your continued partnership with Dempsey Insurance.
- Electrical work should only be done by a qualified electrician.
- Check your electrical cords. If they are cracked or damaged, replace them. Don’t try to repair them.
- Don’t overload extension cords or wall outlets.
- Never use extension cords with appliances (including small countertop appliances). Plug them directly into wall outlets.
There are few things as tranquil, and beautiful as a candle burning inside as snow falls outside. But a candle is an open flame and should be treated as such. Candles cause an estimated 15,600 house fires, 150 deaths, and 1,270 injuries each year and 85 percent of candle fires could be avoided. Here are a few tips:
- Always keep a burning candle within sight. Extinguish all candles when leaving a room or before going to sleep. Be sure the wick ember is no longer glowing.
- Keep candles away from anything that could catch fire. Keep burning candles away from furniture, drapes, bedding, carpets, books, paper, flammable decorations, etc.
- Make sure all candles are out of reach of children and pets.
- Trim candlewicks to ¼ inch each time before burning. Long or crooked wicks can cause uneven burning and dripping.
- Always use a candle-holder specifically designed for candle use. The holder should be heat resistant, sturdy, and large enough to contain any drips or melted wax.
- Keep burning candles away from drafts, vents, ceiling fans and air currents. This will help prevent rapid, uneven burning, and avoid flame flare-ups and sooting. Drafts can also blow nearby lightweight items into the flame where they could catch fire.
- Always burn candles in a well-ventilated room. Don’t burn too many candles in a small room or in a “tight” home where air exchange is limited.
- Don’t burn a candle all the way down. Extinguish the flame if it comes too close to the holder or container. For a margin of safety, discontinue burning a candle when 2 inches of wax remains or ½ inch if in a container.
- Place burning candles at least three inches apart from one another. This helps ensure they don’t melt one another, or create their own drafts to cause improper burning.
- Never extinguish candles with water. The water can cause the hot wax to splatter and might cause a glass container to break.
- Be very careful if using candles during a power outage. Flashlights and other battery-powered lights are safer sources of light during a power failure.
- Extinguish a candle if it repeatedly smokes, flickers, or the flame becomes too high. The candle isn’t burning properly. Cool, trim the wick, then check for drafts before relighting.
- Never use a candle as a night light.
- Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t use the stove or stovetop.
- Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling or broiling food.
- If you are simmering, baking or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the kitchen while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
- Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop
- Always stay in the kitchen when frying on the stovetop.
- Keep an eye on what you fry. If you see wisps of smoke or the oil smells, immediately turn off the burner and/or carefully remove the pan from the burner. Smoke is a danger sign that the oil is too hot.
- Heat the oil slowly to the temperature you need for frying or sautéing.
- Add food gently to the pot or pan so the oil does not splatter.
- Always cook with a lid beside your pan. If you have a fire, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Do not remove the cover because the fire could start again. Let the pan cool for a long time. Never throw water or use a fire extinguisher on the fire.
- If the fire does not go out or you don’t feel comfortable sliding a lid over the pan, get everyone out of your home. Call the fire department from outside.
- When purchasing a new stove, be sure it is installed properly and safely. Get a professional to help if necessary.
Top Tips for Fire Safety
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
- Test smoke alarms every month. We recommend changing the batteries every six months.
- Talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.
- If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL FOR HELP. Never go back inside.
The leading cause of home clothes dryer and washer fires is failure to clean them.
- Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
- Do not use the dryer without a lint filter.
- Make sure you clean the lint filter before or after each load of laundry. Remove lint that has collected around the drum.
- Rigid or flexible metal venting material should be used to sustain proper air flow and drying time.
- Make sure the air exhaust vent pipe is not restricted and the outdoor vent flap will open when the dryer is operating. Once a year, or more often if you notice that it is taking longer than normal for your clothes to dry, clean lint out of the vent pipe or have a dryer lint removal service do it for you.
- Keep dryers in good working order. Gas dryers should be inspected by a professional to make sure that the gas line and connection are intact and free of leaks.
- Make sure the right plug and outlet are used and that the machine is connected properly.
- Follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions and don’t overload your dryer.
- Turn the dryer off if you leave home or when you go to bed.
- Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace to prevent embers or sparks jumping out.
- Do not burn paper in your fireplace.
- Put the fire out before you go to sleep or leave your home.
- Put ashes in a metal container with a lid, outside, on a non-wooden surface, at least 3 feet from your home.
- Have your fireplace and chimney regularly inspected for creosote build up, and to be certain that birds and rodents haven’t nested in it creating potential chimney fire hazards.
- Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment.
- Have equipment cleaned and inspected each year.
- Have your wood, coal or pellet stoves professionally installed.
- Have your wood, coal or pellet stove flue inspected annually.
- Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from your furnace, fireplace, wood stove, coal stove, pellet stove or portable space heater.
- Plug portable heaters directly into outlets and never into an extension cord or power strip.
- Turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
- If you smoke, smoke outside.
- Use deep, wide ashtrays on a sturdy table.
- Before you throw out butts and ashes, make sure they are out, and dousing in water or sand is the best way to do that
- Before performing any maintenance, be sure to switch off the electrical power and fuel supply
- Clean the combustion chamber. Soot tends to build up on the chamber walls and can cause corrosion. Remove any loose material with an industrial shop vacuum and inspect the chambers for corrosion before replacing the cover.
- Next you should inspect the exhaust flue. Check for holes, paying special attention to the areas where the pipe meets the furnace. Patch any holes with foil tape. Unfortunately, if your pipe has begun to corrode it should be replaced.
- Check the oil filter and air filters and replace them when necessary.
- Adjust the burner to maximize efficiency
- Finally, keep in mind, that you should routinely be checking and cleaning your floor vents.
Please click here to access a one-sheet summary for fire safety from Mapfre Insurance.