Safety Messages about Smoke Alarms for Fire Prevention Week

The content for this blog is taken from the National Fire Protection Association. October 9-15 is Fire Prevention Week with a focus on replacing smoke alarms every 10 years.

Smoke alarms are a key part of a home fire escape plan. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast. Working smoke alarms give you early warning so you can get outside quickly.

Smoke Alarm

Safety Tips

  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Install alarms in the basement.
  • Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
  • It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds they all sound.
  • Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
  • There are two kinds of alarms. Ionization smoke alarms are quicker to warn about flaming fires. Photoelectric alarms are quicker to warn about smoldering fires. It is best to use both types of alarms in the home.
  • A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the stove.
  • People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.
  • Smoke alarms are an important part of a home fire escape plan.

Plan your Escape

  • Your ability to get out of your house during a fire depends on advance warning from smoke alarms and advance planning.
  • Get everyone in your household together and make a home escape plan. Walk through your home and look for two ways out of every room.
  • Make sure escape routes are clear of debris and doors and windows open easily. Windows with security bars or grills should have an emergency release device.
  • Plan an outside meeting place where everyone will meet once they have escaped. A good meeting place is something permanent, like a tree, light pole or mailbox, a safe distance in front of the home.
  • If there are infants, older adults, family members with mobility limitations or children who do not wake to the sound of the smoke alarm, make sure that someone is assigned to assist them in the event of an emergency.
  • If the smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside. Respond quickly – get up and go, remember to know two ways out of every room, get yourself outside quickly, and go to your outside meeting place with your family.
  • Learn more about home escape planning.

Children and Smoke Alarms

NFPA is aware of research indicating that sleeping children don’t always awake when a smoke alarm activates. While this research is worrisome, we shouldn’t allow them to obscure the fact that smoke alarms are highly effective at reducing fire deaths and injuries.

NFPA reaffirms the value of the smoke alarms already available to protect people from home fire deaths and voice its concern about the number of U.S. households without these early warning devices. While 96 percent of American homes have at least one smoke alarm, no smoke alarms were present or none operated in two out of five (41%) of the reported home fires between 2003-2006. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

NFPA emphasizes the need to continue planning and practicing home fire escape plans and to make sure everyone in a home can be awakened by the sound of the smoke alarm. NFPA suggests practicing the escape plan during which the smoke alarm is activated so all family members know its sound.

Every home fire escape plan is different, and every family should know who will – and who won’t – awaken at the sound of the smoke alarm. If someone doesn’t wake up when the alarm sounds during a drill, the family should design an escape plan that assigns a grown-up who is easily awakened by the alarm to wake the sleepers, perhaps by yelling “FIRE,” pounding on the wall or door, or blowing a whistle.

Norcia wants everyone to be safe in their homes, specifically from the threat of a fire. If you would like more information about smoke alarms and how to keep your home and family safe, please visit the public education section of NFPA’s website. If you experience a damaging fire in your home, Contact Us for assistance with insurance claims and working through the property damage.

Fireplace Safety Tips

insurance adjuster minnesota norcia insurance consultantsFor many families, winter months mean sitting around their wood-burning fireplace and enjoying the warmth and comfort of a crackling fire while roasting marshmallows and spending quality time with one another. But, as many of us know, a fireplace and chimney can be fire hazards if not properly used and cared for. As an insurance adjuster in Minnesota, we have helped countless homeowners whose houses have sustained damage as a result of a chimney fire, so here are a few tips on how to make sure yours is as safe to use as possible.

  • At least once a year, preferably either right before or right after winter, have your chimney professionally inspected and cleaned. Every time you have a fire in your fireplace, creosote forms. Creosote is a black and sticky flammable substance that needs to be cleaned off on a regular basis to ensure it doesn’t ignite and cause a fire.
  • Make sure you only burn wood that is dry and cured. This means the logs need to have been split, stacked and dried for at least 8 to 12 months. You should make sure the log pile has a cover on top of it, but leave the sides open to allow for air to properly flow through.
  • In your fireplace, make sure the only thing you are burning is wood. Do not burn lumber scraps, construction scraps, painted wood or other pieces of treated wood. These types of wood could release harmful chemicals into your home, and it could affect the indoor air quality at your house. You can use starter logs to start the fire if you need to, but just be sure to use only one of them at a time since they burn very hot.
  • When you don’t have a fire going in your fireplace, make sure you close the damper to keep the warm air from getting out. And when you are burning a fire in your fireplace, make sure you keep the glass doors open to allow the heat of the fire to get into the room.
  • Make sure you have a cap on top of your chimney that is in good working order. The cap will help keep animals from nesting in your chimney (which is a fire hazard in and of itself), and they also help reduce downdrafts. A professional chimney sweep can check your cap as a part of your annual inspection and they can install a new one if need be.

For more information on how to hire an insurance adjuster in Minnesota, call Norcia Insurance Consultants at 866-512-LOSS (5677), or you can contact us to set up your Free Consultation.

Public Insurance Adjusters Perspective: How Safe is Minneapolis?

There are many of us who have lived in Minnesota our whole lives. Have you ever stopped to consider how safe it is to live here, in terms of natural disasters? In this blog, we’re only going to cover a few of the most significant natural disasters that affect our state. If you live in Minnesota, our team of Minneapolis public insurance adjusters can help you recover after one of these major events. We can work with you to get what you deserve from the insurance company.

Tornadoes
Though tornadoes around the Twin Cities rarely reach a deadly magnitude, we reside right on the cusp of Tornado Alley. The number of reported tornadoes has increased in recent years, but the number of lives claimed has decreased. This is most likely due to upgraded weather tracking technology available today. There were a reported 37 tornados in Minnesota in 2012, heavily concentrated in the summer months. Out of a reported 932 confirmed tornadoes in the United States, 37 is a relatively low number. This says to us, that in terms of tornadoes, Minnesota is a pretty safe place to live. These storms can still cause substantial property damage, and insurance claims have undoubtedly been filed.

Wildfires
The subject of wildfires has been in the news a lot recently. In the same way tornadoes are capable of causing damage, wildfires can cause a lot of property damage. Minnesota had a large increase in wildfire activity in 2012. That being said, we still had less fires than most of the country. We haven’t surpassed the national average in over five years. Again, this leads us to believe that of all the places to live in the United States, Minnesota is a good choice. We thoroughly understand the impact on those in Minnesota who have been affected by a wildfire. If you’re in need after a wildfire, we can help.

Out of these two considerations, our opinion is Minnesota is a pretty safe place to reside. This doesn’t mean that these occurrences don’t happen. You still need to practice safety precautions at all times.

To get a Minnesota public insurance adjuster on your side, call Norcia Insurance Consultants today at 566-512-LOSS (5677) or Request a Free Consultation.