Hello all,

Due to the wild fires in California, I thought I would use this blog to give a few tips about fire prevention. There are a few things experts say you need to be doing besides just having an evacuation plan and smoke detectors.

Firstly, homeowners can BEEF UP THERE INSURANCE. Most people get a policy when they buy their home and never really think about it again. The problem with that is your home appreciates. You need it to be insured to pay what the current market value is to re-build, if your home were ever completely destroyed. Over 58% of homeowners never look into the increase. Now is the time.

Secondly, have A DETAILED ESCAPE PLAN. Set the family down and draw a map of your home. Include windows and doors. Discuss what to do and which route to take, being that one door knob may be to hot to exit from, make alternate routes. Know your fire departments number and have a meeting place for the family to congregate at, upon emergency.

Thirdly, one can BUILD A FIRE PROOF HOME. Using insulated concrete forms, a home fits together using these blocks, kind of like legos. The concrete can withstand fire for up to 4 hours. Also good for locking out sound and weather, this material only costs 3-4% more than wood frame without any fire protection.

Another big one is FIREPLACE SAFETY. Chimneys should be sweep yearly. One should also check for damages like loose bricks or mortar. Also the chimney should be capped to prevent animals, and debris from getting inside. Choosing a denser wood to burn such as Oak, helps too. Don’t overload the fire and build it right, using kindling to get it going instead of flammable liquids.

Lastly, one of the biggest fire starters is the washer and dryer, MAINTAIN THE WASHER AND DRYER for prevention and safety. A broken washer hose can costs hundreds in water, in a matter of hours. And boy, what a mess to come home too. Making sure you replace the washer’s hose, preferably with steel-jacketed ones that can’t split is best. The hose should be check for leaks every 6 months and replaced every 5 years. The other MAJOR thing is the lint trap. In 1999 alone, dryers caused 14,600 fires. This is most common appliance fire starter, not changing or cleaning out the lint trap. The best way is by discarding the dryer’s flimsy — and flammable — vinyl duct and putting a metal one in its place. (Regular lint-trap cleaning, while necessary, won’t keep lint from collecting in the duct.)