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Tips for Preventing House Fires and Saving Lives

There are more things to consider when protecting your home and family against fire than just equipping your home with a smoke detector. The Insurance Bureau of Canada is offering its Top 10 Tips for Preventing House Fires and Saving Lives:

Regularly clean and test smoke detectors – remove dust, check batteries when the clocks change in spring and fall, test regularly and replace at least every 10 years.

Create an emergency preparedness plan for your family – develop a fire evacuation plan, practise executing that plan and stick to it in an emergency.

Frequently inspect and clean chimney flues – ensure that there are no blockages.

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Install proper light bulbs – never use light bulbs with a higher wattage than the maximum indicated on the fixture.

Monitor heated appliances and decor – properly use and watch portable heaters, ensure lint is removed from the dryer, never leave irons unattended and keep an eye on burning candles.

Be careful when cooking – use your kitchen safely, especially when deep-drying or cooking with flammable oils.

Properly store flammable materials – store gasoline, solvents, waste or other materials that may ignite at least 10 metres away from your home.

Remove dry leaves and debris – keep leaves, other dry materials and potentially flammable garbage away from the exterior of your house, especially if you have wood or vinyl siding.

Prepare and update a home inventory – make a list of what you own, including the value of each item, take photos or video and update the list regularly.

Assemble a disaster safety kit – prepare a basic kit of food, water and other necessities that will last at least 72 hours in an emergency.

And while virtually every home or tenant’s insurance policy covers damage caused by fire as long as the fire was not started intentionally by or at the direction of the homeowner, it is important to check that you have appropriate coverage for all of your belongings. Talk to your insurance representatives and understand your policies.

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