– Crystal Vagnier – Select Group – Writer/Editor
As Smokey Bear says, “Only you can prevent wildfires.” Not only is that accurate for forest fires but it is also applicable to house fires as well. Many may blame house fires on external considerations like heat and lightning, but in actuality, most home fires are the result of negligence or poor upkeep of the home. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) states that in 2016, 352,000 home fires resulted in 10,750 civilian injuries, 2,735 deaths, and caused $5.7 billion in property damages. Having every home inspected for fire risks is crucial to the buying and selling process, but Realtors® can assist their clients with this process by learning more about the dangers and causes of house fires as well as strategies to implement when inspecting the potential risks.
The NFPA reports that a fire happens every 23 seconds, a structure fire every 63 seconds, and a home fire every 86 seconds. It comes as no surprise that the number one cause of house fires and injuries is cooking, at a startling percentage of 46%. Reminding your clients to always keep a fire extinguisher near the kitchen as most fires will originate here is great advice. At 16%, the second leading cause of house fires is heating equipment followed by electrical distribution and lighting equipment at 9%. Making sure the home inspector or your clients thoroughly inspect all of the wires, bulbs, electrical, and heating equipment is crucial.
It only takes 30 seconds for a small flame to progress into a major fire. When fire erupts during sleeping hours, injuries incurred are mostly from the toxic fumes instead of the actual heat. Discussing with your clients what an emergency escape route would look like in the unexpected case of a house fire is good practice. Providing suggestions as to what crucial items to grab and by which exit will help your clients feel at ease in their new home. Another useful suggestion is to provide your clients with a reminder as to where all the smoke detectors and fire sprinklers are.
It may seem obvious, but it never hurts to remind your clients about all of the necessary safety precautions. It’s easy to become complacent until an emergency strikes. Do yourself and your clients a favor and practice these fire safety strategies today!