Home Fires: How to Avoid a Tragedy

By: Stacey A. Giulianti, Esq.

Chief Legal Officer

Nothing is scarier as a homeowner, in my opinion, than a fire.  As a husband and father, protecting against a home fire is at the top of my list of prevention activities.  Understanding the risks – and how to mitigate them - is the most important step.

Grill Fire Safety Tips

With Florida’s nice weather, many of us are outdoors, cooking our meals over an open fire.  Every year, though, outdoor grills cause more than 6,000 dangerous fires in our country and approximately 8,000 Americans are injured.

Property damage from these grilling fires result in over $35 million dollars’ worth of damage. Make sure that you practice fire safety around your grill.  Some of these tips are obvious, but they are worth repeating – and reminding your guests and family members, as well:

  • Don’t leave your BBQ grill unattended.  Someone should keep an eye on it whenever it’s in use.  Kids can burn themselves by touching it, flames can leap out and start fires, and smoke inhalation can cause lung injuries.
  • Don’t wear loose-fitting clothing while cooking at your outside grill.  Avoid touching any hot surfaces, even after the grill has been turned off.
  • Keep an eye on any open flames or fire pits and use them with extreme caution.  Sparks can easily jump from the fire pit to nearby flammable items, causing a fire which can spread quickly.  Make sure you clear a large area on all sides of the fire pit, and do not let children near the flames.
  • Be careful when using lighter fluid.  Lighter fluid is highly flammable, and if spilled on clothing, furniture, or even the ground, it can lead the fire to unintended locations.  Clean up any spills with paper towels, wash your hands thoroughly, and keep the trash far from any heat or fire sources.
  • Keep a portable fire extinguisher available nearby.  Small, disposable fire extinguishers are no larger than a tall can of soda and are excellent at quickly quenching small fires.  Have one in your house, near the kitchen, and outside anytime you light up the BBQ grill.
  • All grills – gas, charcoal, propane, wood – should ONLY be used outdoors and in well ventilated areas, away from any flammable items.

If you accidentally cause damage to your own property from such a fire, any coverage would be under your dwelling coverage, known as Coverage A.  If the fire you accidentally caused injures someone else or damages their property, any coverage would be under your liability coverage, or Coverage E (Section II).  If you have any questions, contact your professional insurance agent for more information.

General Fire Safety Tips

In addition to BBQ fires, many other areas of your house can be the source of a fire.  To protect against a wide variety of fire types, follow these simple guidelines:

  • Inspect all your electrical cords throughout the entire home.  If they are damaged, frayed, or cracked, please replace them.
  • Extension cords are to be used temporarily, never for long periods of time.
  • Don’t overload extension cords or wall outlets.
  • Always plug appliances directly into wall outlets.
  • Have a professional contractor fix any broken outlets or switches.
  • Update any outdated or malfunctioning fuses or circuit boxes.
  • Check that you have installed the correct light bulb wattage for all fixtures or lamps.
  • Move lamps away from draperies and shades and install proper lampshades as needed.
  • Replace the batteries in your fire/smoke detector and test them to ensure proper functioning.
  • Keep matches and lighters in a secured location and out of your child’s reach.
  • Purchase mini fire extinguishers and show every family member how to use them

We Got You Covered

Keeping your family and home safe and protected is Florida Peninsula Insurance Company’s top priority. We are one of Florida's largest homeowners insurance companies offering multi-peril policies covering homes, condos, and renters insurance. For more information, or to get a quote, please call 877-229-2244.

Notice:  Please check your specific policy and speak to your carrier, legal advisor, and/or licensed agent for more information.  Policies differ, and revisions occur frequently.  All information is general only.

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