Fireproof Your Home

Every year, residential fires affect almost half a million homes in America, making deaths from fires the third leading cause of fatal home injury. While fires can cause serious damage in both apartments and private homes, they can be significantly more severe in apartment buildings because a fire and the related heat and smoke from your apartment can affect your entire building and the safety of all its residents.

So whether you live in a small condo or a large high-rise apartment dwelling, you should always take extra care with flammables and activities that could increase the risk of a fire. Here are five steps you can take to help fireproof your home, prevent an apartment fire, and protect yourself and your belongings:

1. Avoid clutter

When cooking, using electronic devices with a heating element or using candles, you should make sure there is enough space around it to allow heat to escape. While the appliance itself may not catch on fire, the heat may cause the wires to melt which could start a dangerous electrical fire. The clutter could also catch on fire if it is too close. You should also make sure you don’t overcrowd your circuits. Instead, you should use a power strip which can eliminate sudden spikes of electricity that could lead to a fire.

2. Test your alarms

Although your fire alarm can be quite annoying when it goes off at inopportune moments, it can also save your life in case of a fire. So remember to test your alarm every month, change the batteries when needed and talk to your landlord about getting a carbon monoxide alarm (if you don’t already have one).

3. Renters insurance

While renters insurance won’t help prevent an apartment fire, it can protect the value of your belongings in case of a fire. For a relatively low cost, renters insurance may cover your belongings against losses from fires in your apartment and also fires from other apartments that may have damaged your belongings.

4. Auto-shut off

When you’re in a rush to leave your apartment, it can be easy to forget to turn off your coffee maker or iron but any type of electric device with a heating element can quickly start a fire if left on and unattended. By purchasing devices with an auto-shut off function, you can rest assured that the device will turn off by itself after a couple minutes of inactivity. However, ovens and stoves still don’t come with this function, so make sure you check both of these before you go to sleep or leave your apartment.

5. Clean regularly

Cleaning your stove and oven regularly not only prevents bugs and odors from contaminating your entire apartment, it also prevents food buildup that can turn into charcoal and catch on fire. If your oven has a self-clean function, you should take precautions to make sure it doesn’t overheat and catch on fire.

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