Industry News

Daylight Savings... it can actually save you!

 

Fire safety

Doesn’t it seem silly to throw our bodies out of whack for a few days just to save time in the day?

The age-old myth is that Daylight Savings was adopted to give farmers extra time in the sun to work in the field. While this sounds great, it's not entirely why so many countries are following it. Daylight Savings Time is a system used to reduce electricity usage by extending daylight hours. Now, in the insurance world, we believe that there is an even better reason for Daylight Savings. That is, to check the batteries in your smoke alarms and your CO detectors. Some of us who have hardwired alarms still have batteries as backup, its always a good idea to test them and replace them if needed. Keep in mind they do have an expiration date! 

The added time these alarms provide is critical. Modern building and furniture materials have drastically increased the rate at which a fire now spreads in a home so homeowners need all the time they can get! Now, if you have children and/or pets to retrieve and get out safely, that’s added time to your escape and all the more reason to have great smoke alarms.

Houses built today are not made the same as houses built just 40 years ago. Newer plastic and synthetic materials have replaced older materials and increased efficiency in homes however, they can be more dangerous in a fire due to their higher burn temps and speeds. For comparison on average It took just over 3 minutes for a new home on fire to flashover or become completely engulfed in flames. Whereas homes built in the 60s/70s took nearly 30 minutes to flashover due to the differences in building and furniture materials. When every second counts this makes a big difference! 

Let’s think about this… if you don't have working smoke detectors and a fire starts it might be completely engulfed in flames before you are awake. Your chances of getting out safely have now been drastically reduced. We want to share some tips with you to keep you and your family safe from a residential fire.

Tips to Keep Your Home & Family Safe from Fire:

  • Never leave cooking food unattended. Turn the stovetop/oven off if you need to leave the kitchen. Use cooking thermometers to monitor the temperature of grease and oil, while cooking
  • Installation of smoke alarms. Ideally, you should have a smoke alarm on every single floor of your home. Current building codes require that they are placed in every bedroom and the additional areas outside of the sleeping quarters. The best types are hardwired but battery-operated is sufficient as long as battery life is tracked and tested monthly
  • Installation of fire extinguishers and fire ladders. Fire experts recommend there be a fire extinguisher on every level of the home, to include the basement and garage with an extra one in the kitchen. They should be easily accessible and away from children. Fire ladders are great for a safe escape from levels above the first floor
  • Service your appliances and wood/pellet stoves. People in Vermont love to burn wood to offset heating costs but there are some risks. All appliances and solid burning fuel sources should be serviced and cleaned regularly. 
  • Fire escape plans. This is especially important for families. The escape plan should include two ways to get out of every room of the home. All windows should be easy to open, and screens should be easily removed or kicked out of the way. Lastly, you will want to designate a meeting place that is far from the structure that is on fire. A good idea would be a neighbor’s porch or the end of the driveway
  • Holidays bring on their own troubles. Keep your Christmas tree well hydrated and be sure to shut lights off and blow candles out before bedtime and before you leave the house. Make sure you check the condition of your lights. Check for fraying cords, loose connections, and cracked lamps. If you are cooking with turkey fryers, keep them away from the home and steadily monitor the temperature, which should never exceed 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Teach your kids about fire safety! Explain what smoke alarms do. Practice “Stop, Drop and Roll” and not to hide during a fire. Be sure to make this learning process fun for them
While life safety is always the focus and priority don't forget to… CHECK YOUR INSURANCE COVERAGE! Call your insurance agent today and go over your home insurance coverage. Make sure that your replacement values are up to date. If you have recently purchased valuable items, make sure that you have these items scheduled on your policy.

Now that you've gotten that extra hour of sleep this week, replace the batteries in your alarms, make an escape plan with your family, re-evaluate the material items in your home to give you and your family a little extra time to get out safely, and lastly... pick up that phone and call your agent today. Make sure your coverages are where they should be!