Loss Prevention

PREVENT FIRES:

In the United States, over 3,000 people die every year due to fires. Unfortunately, residential structure fires account for the vast majority of those fatalities (FEMA). With the right precautions, most fire-related deaths can be prevented. The U.S. Fire Administration offers the following precautions to protect you and your home from fires.

-- Install Smoke Alarms
Smoke alarms should be installed near all sleeping areas. Ensure that they are functioning properly and replace old batteries when necessary.

-- Plan an Escape
Keep your family safe by going over every exit in the home and planning a remote meeting spot to gather in the event of a fire. Make sure all members of the household are prepared for an emergency exit.

-- Check Insulation
Ensure that insulation is kept away from light fixtures or other heat sources. Make sure that your electrical system is functioning properly before installing insulation.

-- Report Electrical Hazards
Faulty wiring and malfunctioning electrical equipment often cause fires. Do not attempt electrical repairs unless you are qualified and authorized to do so.

-- Keep Furnaces Clean

-- Use Caution with Outlets & Space Heaters
Do not overload outlets and keep space heaters away from flammable objects. Do not run extension cords beneath rugs or looped over sharp objects such as nails. To prevent overheating, allow plenty of air space around televisions, microwaves and computers.

-- Cook Safely
Keep the space by your stove free from curtains or towel racks. Keep the stove and oven clean from oil and grease. Do not wear loose sleeves or other garments when cooking, because they may catch fire. Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Do not use gasoline or add lighter fluid when grilling.

-- Store Hazardous Material Safely
Hazardous material such as automotive fluids, chemicals, batteries, household cleaners, medicines, paints, and laundry products can pose serious fire, health or environmental hazards. Store flammable products away from sunlight or a heat source. Follow use and storage instructions on the product’s label. Be informed on the safe disposal of the hazardous material.

-- Practice Fire Safety
Reduce clutter in your home, as it provides fuel for the fire and prevents access to exits. Learn how to operate a fire extinguisher. Do not smoke in your home and properly dispose of ashes. Keep matches and lighters out of reach of small children.

PREVENT FLOODS:

Floods cause nearly 100 deaths per year and incur eight billion dollars in damages (NOAA). Every flood is different—some develop over time while flash floods develop very quickly and can cause major damage in a matter of minutes.

-- Practice Water Loss Safety (tips from FEMA):
-- Avoid building in flood prone areas.
-- Install a sewer backflow valve
-- Elevate water heaters, furnaces, washers and dryers at least six inches above basement floors.
-- Raise electrical panel boxes, switches, and outlets above the 100-year flood level
-- Add waterproof veneer to exterior walls and seal all openings.
-- Use flood-resistant building materials
-- Regularly check and clean gutters, leaders and drains to prevent blockages
-- Prevent frozen pipes by changing filters on heating systems, sealing leaks in the home’s foundation, and insulating any exposed pipes in attics or basements.
-- Protect outdoor electrical equipment to prevent power outage
-- Watch the news for flood and flash flood warnings.

PREVENT MOLD:

Mold grows in warm and damp conditions, indoors or out. Tens of thousands of species of mold reproduce to generate spores that can withstand harsh environmental conditions.

-- Prevent condensation by reducing humidity in the building, increase ventilation, and cover cold surfaces.
-- Reduce humidity by using air conditioners or de-humidifiers and use exhaust fans or open windows when cooking, dishwashing, showering, etc.
-- Regularly check common spill areas (such as water coolers) for moisture.
-- Clear indoor and outdoor drains of clogs and buildup.
-- Check for proper seal on roofing (shingles, vents, etc).
-- Install ventilation or exhaust fans in moist, confined areas.