A House Fire: How to protect your family and help those who have just suffered a loss

By: Denise Koslowsky

In the event of a house fire, your family has only an average of 3 to 4 minutes to escape. That is frightening! Only 3 – 4 minutes.

30 years ago you had more time, as much as 17 minutes. But times have changed.

The synthetic materials used to build your home and furnishings burn faster than the natural materials used when building older homes. Every moment counts so you need to do all you can to help your family prepare in the event of a house fire.

The most important things you can do to help protect your family are:
• Install A Central Station Burglar & Fire Alarm
• Close & Contain
• Plan An Escape Route

Install A Central Station Burglar & Fire Alarm
Relying on a smoke detector does not offer enough protection. We cannot state strongly enough that the most important precaution you can take is to have a Central Station Fire Alarm installed in your home.

Close & Contain
Close the door when you go to sleep at night and if your home is on fire and you escape, be sure to close the door behind you as you leave. We encourage you to Close and Contain by closing the door behind you in order to contain the fire. The reason this works is that a closed door limits the fire’s oxygen supply and can help to contain the fire. The closed door slows down or stops the spread of flames, reduces the temperature and reduces the emission of deadly Carbon Monoxide.

Plan An Escape Route
When a fire breaks out in your home every second counts, which is why you need to make sure everyone has at least two ways out. We want you to be prepared and that means coming up with an escape plan that includes two ways out of every room in your home.

How to best help those in need
When a neighbor, friend or relative loses everything in a house fire it is natural to want to help. People usually jump in quickly to offer gift cards, clothing, or a place to sleep. Each of those would be wonderful gifts, but we thought we would give you some fresh ideas to help those who are in need.

Friendship is a wonderful thing and when times are hard, everyone needs a friend to help them through. Below are a few ideas on how step in and be a friend to someone who has lost their home in a fire:
• Help them keep their memories. One way is to reach out to their children’s schools to see if there are extra copies of old yearbooks available to purchase.
• If they are staying in a hotel, invite them over. It will do them a world of good to be in a normal environment for a little while.
• It can take a long time to heal from the devastation of a house fire. Time passes and everyone assumes things are better but it is a lovely idea to call and check in on them from time to time.

The aftermath of a fire is overwhelming. Be there for your friend in ways that help them stay organized for their insurance claim. Below are a few tips:
• Bring them accordion files or binders that can store all their receipts and paperwork.
• If they don’t already have a home inventory, help them create one.

Time is our most valuable resource. Offering your time to a friend is exactly what they need right now. Below are a few ideas:
• Go with them when they return home to search through the rubble to see if any of their personal items are salvageable.
• Volunteer to babysit their kids so they can have a night out to relax.

Final Piece Of Advice From Advocate
Make a Home Video Inventory. Having to create an inventory of all your possessions in the aftermath of a fire is very difficult, and will only add to your stress. Instead, we recommend that all of our clients take the time now to create a Home Video Inventory using your smartphone. We love this idea so much we created a white paper on the subject which you can download here.

House fires are a tragedy and we want to do all we can to help you protect yourself and your family. If you want more information about the discounts that are available when you have a Central Station Burglar and Fire Alarm installed, get in touch with us at 914-723-7100. We would be happy to take the time to talk with you about it.

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