Cut Down on the Risk of Fire in Your Home

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A recent report issued by the US Fire Administration outlined the rates and causes of fires in residences from 2011 to 2013. Protect your home and your prized possessions from the risk of fire by taking precautionary steps to prevent a fire in your home. Should a fire occur, consult with a skilled attorney to assist you in receiving the maximum possible amount in a home insurance claim payout, and make any additional legal claims necessary to ensure you’re made whole after a fire.

The US Fire Administration reports that fire departments responded to 241,700 fires during the three years the study covered, causing $5.4 billion in property loss, 2,025 deaths, and 8,400 injuries. Among fires in residences, 65% of those occurred in single or two-family homes. The most common cause of fires in the home is cooking, leading to 35% of all fires in homes. While these fires can cause expensive damage to kitchen appliances, such fires are normally small and contained, but can grow out of control. Make sure that you have a small extinguisher nearby, and inspect the extinguisher periodically to make sure it will function when you need it to. Depending on your insurer, you may also make yourself eligible for a protective device discount by having a fire extinguisher in your home. Relatedly, in almost a quarter of the major residential fires studied, no smoke alarm was present. It is highly important that you install smoke alarms in every room, and check the batteries on a regular basis.

As the weather cools, the risk of fire increases. The rates of fire in the home grow as the weather gets colder, working up to January, when 10% of residential fires occur. One of the most common sources of house fires are heating sources, which account for 16% of all home fires, with fireplaces serving as a major source of such fires. Ensure that your chimney is properly cleaned, that fireplaces are protected by grates, and that the fires are entirely extinguished when they will no longer be attended.

Another leading source of home fires are electrical shorts and malfunctions. As homes get older, this risk of electrical malfunction rises. This risk becomes much higher when a home is 40 years old or older. If your home is older, it can be difficult to tell whether the electrical work was initially done well. However, take care to ensure that any updates to the electrical system are done up to code, and that you’re careful not to overload older electrical systems.

If you have experienced a residential fire in New York, contact experienced Kingston insurance claim and property damage law firm Basch & Keegan for a consultation on your claims, at (845) 338-8884.