On Property Insurance Claim Tips Blog

A Few Thoughts for Fire Prevention Week

Smoke from fire is like an anesthetic.  Rather than awakening you, it will put you into a deep sleep.  And a little known fact is that most fire deaths occur during the night, with most perishing due to smoke inhalation, not fire. A recent fire in Tampa where a mother and daughter perished due to smoke in an otherwise minimal fire is a perfect example.

Even closer to home is my cousin Briar, a student at Marshall University who sadly passed away during a massive apartment fire.  Based on the accounts of those who survived, Briar was awake during the fire and going around knocking on doors to wake people up before he finally succumbed to the heavy smoke.  A true hero! 

Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. The fire began on October 8, but continued into and did most of its damage on October 9, 1871.

As public insurance adjusters that handle dozens of fires each year, we always like to pass along tips that address issues that we see during some of our routine pre-disaster inspections.

  • If the smoke alarm in a kitchen is sounding too often, move it to the adjacent room. If space constraints make it necessary to have a smoke alarm within 10-20 feet of the kitchen stove, use either a photoelectric alarm or an alarm with a hush feature that can be temporarily silenced without disabling the alarm.

  • Smoke alarms should be tested at least once a month. Conventional (not long-life) batteries should be replaced at least once a year. Follow manufacturer's instructions or follow these guidelines:
    - Mount on the ceiling or up high on the wall, but keep detectors about 4 inches from a corner where the
    ceiling and
    wall meet. The corner is  "dead-air space" where the detector won't be in the path of smoke.
- For high-pitched or "cathedral" ceilings, mount the detectors 3 feet from the highest point.
- Avoid placement in the path of AC or heater vents.
- Place one detector outside each sleeping area.
- Place one detector on each level of your home.
- Always put a detector in each bedroom.


Taking a few simple precautions can help save your family the hardships a fire and the ensuing insurance claim can cause. Please prepare.

If you have questions regarding any property insurance claim related issues please call 800.321.4488 or contact us to submit a question to one of our public adjuster or insurance claim experts.

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