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Home Fires Increase During Winter Months


A home fire can be financially and emotionally devastating for a family. As the colder winter months approach, homeowners will be cranking up the heat and using electrical appliances to stay warm.

With that can come an increased risk of a home fire. Thousands of fires a year start because of unattended cooking appliances, space heaters and candles. In fact, a report by the U.S. Fire Administration estimates 108,400 home fires will take place during the winter.

USFA acting Fire Administrator Glenn Gaines says heating sources are the primary culprit behind residential blazes.

"The winter season brings the highest number of home fires than any other time of year. Each winter season, home fires increase in part due to cooking and heating fires," says Gaines. "In addition, winter storms can interrupt electrical service and cause people to turn to alternative heating sources which contribute to the increased risk of fire during the winter months."

There are steps homeowners can take to help avoid a devastating fire in their house. The NFPA urges those who use space heaters to keep objects at least three feet away from the devices. Furthermore, it says chimneys and other similar heating appliances need to be cleaned annually by a professional.

Homeowners, particularly those who do use wood stoves and fire places to heat their homes should consider home insurance.

The Insurance Information Institute says there are several factors homeowners need to take into account when deciding to purchase homeowners insurance. Primarily, people should make sure they have enough coverage to to rebuild their house.

To determine such expenses, homeowners need to take into account the size and style of their home as well as any special features. The III says fireplaces, modeling and trim can affect the value of a residence.

While a homeowner's policy will cover damages and loss due to a disaster or theft, they do not reimburse for expenses that arise from floods or earthquakes.

Installing safety features like smoke alarms and sprinklers can help alert homeowners to a fire and get the blaze under control as soon as possible. Some may also find savings on their home insurance as a result of having such fixtures installed.

Some people can think they can forgo having homeowner's insurance, but such individuals should be reminded of what it would cost to replace all the possessions in a house should something happen.


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