It’s Fire Prevention Week, a Great Time to: Look, Listen, Learn.

By: Denise Koslowsky


According to statistics from the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments in the US respond to an average of 1 fire every 86 seconds. Home fires cause an average of seven deaths per DAY and cause an estimated $6.7 billion in damage.  That is why for one week each year the NFPA calls the public’s attention to the importance of fire prevention and safety.  This year the focus is on Look, Listen & Learn and it is the perfect backdrop for us to talk about keeping you and your world, protected from the damage a fire could bring.


Be aware of your surroundings.  That is the advice of Lorraine Carli, Vice President of Outreach and Advocacy for the NFPA.  She says “People take safety for granted and are not aware of the risk of fire, paying attention to your surroundings, looking for available exits in the event of a fire or other emergency, and taking the smoke alarm seriously if it sounds can make a potentially life-saving difference in a fire or other emergency situation.”

While fires can and do happen everywhere, they are much more likely to happen at home.  In fact, each year 4 out of 5 fire deaths occur at home.

Things to LOOK for to keep your home fire free:

  • Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries.  Never leave the kitchen unattended when you are preparing meals and the stove is on.
  • For decades, smoking was the leading cause of home fire deaths and still continues to be a threat.  If you smoke, don’t smoke in bed and be sure to properly extinguish and dispose of cigarettes, cigars, and pipes when you are done smoking.
  • Heating equipment was involved in 1 in every 5 home-fire deaths so it is important to be sure that it is working properly.  Have your furnace serviced regularly and be sure to have your chimney cleaned yearly as well.  Use extreme caution when operating portable heaters, be sure to turn it off and unplug it when it is not in use and keep it away from flammable objects.

40% of fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke detectors!  It is so important to be sure that every home is equipped with smoke detectors.  Be sure to test them each month and replace the battery each year.  Allow October and fire protection month to serve as a great reminder to take care of these two important tasks.

A few more ways to make LISTENING for smoke detectors easier:

  • Smoke detectors should be installed in each bedroom.
  • Be sure smoke alarms are installed on each floor of your home as well as the basement.
  • If you have elderly relatives with hearing loss either living with you or visiting frequently, it might be a good idea to install a specialty alarm that has strobe lights or bed shakers.

The safety of your family is our number one priority at Advocate Brokerage.  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.  Having a central station fire alarm installed in your home can be the difference in saving your family’s life and can save your house.  Insurance companies provide a significant discount for the proper installation of a central station fire and burglar alarm system. Feel free to call us, we would be happy to talk you through our recommendations and any discounts that may apply.

If a fire should break out, typically you have about 2 minutes to get yourself and your family out of the house.  That is why you and each member of your family need to make sure they have 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.

Follow our step by step guide to LEARN your two ways out:

  • Draw a map of your house, you can use NFPA’s grid, and mark two exits from each room. Be sure to mark the path to outside from each exit.
  • Review the map with your entire family so everyone is aware of the plan.
  • Conduct a fire drill twice a year, one at night and one during the day.
  • Remind everyone to close the doors behind them when they leave, to slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Find out more about Close and Contain below!

A Final Note From Advocate Brokerage
Last year we did our best to try to spread the message of Close and Contain.  It is so important that we feel it bears repeating.  What we mean is that if you find yourself in a structure that is on fire, when you leave, be sure 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.  It is a good habit to cultivate, one that could save a life!

For Advocate’s full Close and Contain blog, click here.

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