With the weather cold and blustery, hibernation starts to feel good. But as we move inside and spend more time there, some risks move with us. The winter months are fire hazard months. Heavier indoor usage of electricity, kitchens, furnaces, space heaters, candles, fireplaces and more all increase the risk of danger from accidental fires. This is the top season for home fires, according to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), with cooking and heating being the leading causes of residential fires in the winter.
To be safe, practice these fire-safety tips:
- Remain in the kitchen while frying, grilling or doing any cooking. If you leave the kitchen, turn off the stove.
- When using space heaters, give them enough room. Anything that can burn should be kept at least three feet away from the heater.
- Replace cracked or damaged electrical or extension cords; do not try to repair them.
- Do not use the oven to heat a room or the house. Ovens and stovetops are not designed for this purpose. Besides the danger of fire, there is also the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from improper use of gas stoves.
- Be careful using lighted candles—make sure they are in safe holders and keep them away from flammable materials.
A homeowner’s insurance policy will usually cover damage due to wind, fire and lightning. In addition, policies typically cover other structures on the premises, such as a garage or tool shed, as well as damage to furniture, clothes, appliances and other personal possessions up to the limits of your policy and its replacement-cost provisions. Check with your insurance agent for the details of your policy.
Above all, practice preventive care. No matter how good your coverage is, a fire can take too many things that can never be replaced.
Gordon Wenner is a graduate of Bowling Green State University where he majored in insurance. He is past president of Summit County Independent Insurance Agents Association, the Fairlawn Area Chamber of Commerce and Fairlawn Country Club.
In business since 1975, Jones & Wenner is a large, diversified independent insurance agency in Fairlawn. Call 330-867-4434 with your insurance questions or visit www.jones-wenner.com.