Insurance Insight: Fighting fire before it starts – actions you should take

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 13, 2002


Every 60 seconds a house burns. Every 24 hours, ten people die in residential fires.

Sadly, many of these fires could have been prevented, but were not.

Review these common sense safety measures which could prevent a fire, or save the lives of your loved ones if a fire breaks out.

A clean house. Don’t let papers and trash pile up in closets, the garage, or under stairs. If such were to ignite, a fire could quickly get out of control.

Flammables away from the house. Do not keep gasoline, kerosene, or paint thinner in your storage room or garage. These materials should be stored in a separate out-building if possible. Oily rags, outta there! Keep oily, greasy rags in a container away from your house.

Inspect furnaces, chimneys. Your heating system should be inspected annually. Chimneys and wood burning stove pipes should be cleaned to prevent combustible creosote build-up.

Dampers and ashes. Never close a damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. This could help the fire heat up again and force toxic carbon monoxide into the house.

Do not discard hot ashes near the house. Always use a screen on the fireplace to prevent sparks or hot embers from popping onto a rug.

Careful with candles. Do not place candles too close to curtains or other combustibles, and do not leave them unwatched.

Child safety. Think again – are matches and lighters out of the reach of your children?

Working smoke detectors. Install detectors by sleeping areas, and test them regularly.

Fire extinguisher. It is a good idea to have an extinguisher handy in the kitchen.

Important numbers. Post fire and emergency numbers near all phones.

JAMES WAGNER JR. is a State Farm insurance agent with an office in LaPlace.