At Cornerstone, we’ve spent years working with families and businesses whose property has been damaged by fire. Our role is to fully restore the property to its previous condition, including repairing both structural and cosmetic damage. During our time in this industry, we’ve had the opportunity to work with numerous fire safety professionals, loss adjusters and others. Here are a few of the top tips we’ve gleaned. Most of these take less than 10 minutes to implement and, can massively improve the outcome in case of fire.
Fire risk prevention tips:
- Fit appropriate smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and alarms – 36% of fatalities occur where there is no fire alarm present
- Check detectors and alarms regularly
- Check old or ‘at risk’ wiring regularly
- Replace old or damaged wiring immediately
- Don’t leave cooking equipment unattended
- Maintain and replace worn cooking equipment
- Maintain and replace heating equipment
- Sweep chimneys at least once per year
- Discourage smoking and ensure butts are safely disposed of – 36% of fires in the home are caused by smoking materials
- Make sure any fires, including BBQs, bonfires and candles, are properly built and not left unattended
- Stay sober when cooking or using fire – over 1,700 fires and 34 deaths were recorded in the UK in 2016/17 where alcohol or drugs were a contributing factor
- Don’t cut corners on recommended fire safety equipment, materials or procedures
Preparing for fire
Hopefully, you’ll live your whole life without experiencing a fire at either your home or business. However, a few minutes’ work now can make a big difference should the worst happen. Most of these tips will also give you a measure of protection from other disasters, such as flood, structural subsidence, dry rot, storm damage etc.
- Take photos of the current state of your property – quick snaps are a great help to ensure that any damage is properly recorded and repaired
- Keep essential documents in a grab-and-go box or bag – don’t go back for it, but if you have a few seconds having what you need with you is a big help
- Take photos of documents as a digital back up – this should include insurance policies and contact numbers, as well as passports, utility company information and any other significant documents
- Email important photos to yourself – email servers are typically in a different county or country, so are unlikely to be affected by anything short of a global disaster. Keep important documents safe by emailing copies to yourself or a trusted family member or use ‘cloud storage’.
- Ensure your property has adequate fire safety equipment – this may mean installing or updating new equipment
- Make sure everyone knows how to get out in case of a fire – this is as important at home as at work
- Obtain insurance and keep it up to date – the cost of repairing damage from a significant fire can bankrupt a family or business. Insurance may be the last item on a list but it’s certainly not the least important!