IBC’s Top 10 Tips for Preventing House Fires and Saving Lives

Toronto, ON (Aug. 13, 2014) – Every year, fires claim lives and cost millions of dollars in damage; in many cases, these tragedies could be avoided. Insurance Bureau of Canada offers its top 10 tips for preventing house fires and saving lives to help Canadians protect their families and their homes.

“People often believe equipping their house with a smoke detector is enough to ensure their family’s safety,” said Ralph Palumbo, Vice-President, Ontario, IBC. “In reality, this is just one of many steps people should take. By following IBC’s tips, Canadians can greatly reduce their risk from fire,” Palumbo said.

IBC’s top 10 tips for preventing house fires and saving lives:

  1. Install and regularly check smoke detectors – remove dust, check batteries when the clocks change in spring and fall, test regularly and replace at least every 10 years.
  2. Create an emergency preparedness plan for your family – develop a fire evacuation plan, practise executing that plan and stick to it in an emergency.
  3. Frequently inspect and clean chimney flues – ensure that there are no blockages.
  4. Install proper light bulbs – never use light bulbs with a higher wattage than the maximum indicated on the fixture.
  5. Monitor heated appliances and decor – properly use and watch portable heaters, ensure lint is removed from the dryer, never leave irons unattended and keep an eye on burning candles.
  6. Be careful when cooking – use your kitchen safely, especially when deep-drying or cooking with flammable oils.
  7. Properly store flammable materials – store gasoline, solvents, waste or other materials that may ignite at least 10 metres away from your home.
  8. Remove dry leaves and debris – keep leaves, other dry materials and potentially flammable garbage away from the exterior of your house, especially if you have wood or vinyl siding.
  9. Prepare and update a home inventory – make a list of what you own, including the value of each item, take photos or video and update the list regularly.
  10. Assemble a disaster safety kit – prepare a basic kit of food, water and other necessities that will last at least 72 hours in an emergency.

Insurance Coverage

While virtually every home or tenant’s insurance policy covers damage caused by fire as long as the fire was not started intentionally by or at direction of the homeowner, it is important to check that you have appropriate coverage for all of your belongings. IBC encourages consumers to talk to their insurance representatives and understand their policies. People can also contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-800-387-2880.

For more information on fire prevention and preparedness see IBC’s Smart Prevention brochure (PDF).

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

IBC is pleased to celebrate 50 years as a valuable resource for insurance information. Since 1964, IBC has been working with governments across Canada to make our communities safer, championing issues that directly affect Canadians and the property and casualty (P&C) insurance industry. IBC is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent 90% of the private P&C insurance market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs over 118,600 Canadians, pays more than $7 billion in taxes and levies to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of $48 billion.

SOURCE: Insurance Bureau of Canada