Monday, February 14, 2011

Things to do before a house fire

Mae West
"A man can be short and dumpy and getting bald but if he has fire, women will like him."
-Mae West
From the Consumerist.com a house fire victim lists

9 Things We Wished We Did Before Our House Burned Down

1. Subscribe to an online data backup service.They had an external back-up drive but it sat right next their laptop and both burned up. We use Windows Live Mesh which gives 5 GB of storage on the Internet.

2. Keep passports in a safe deposit box
Passports are handy if you need to prove your identity and you've lost your wallet or purse.

3. Take pictures of each room initially and update them as improvements are made (store them offsite - like Flickr)
The photos will come in handy when inventorying what you lost.

4. Take pictures and keep hyperlinks of all expensive purchases, including jewelry. Scan receipts[for expensive purchases] and store offline.
You'll want this for insurance recovery.

5. Hire an architect (my dad in our case) or use floorplanner.com to document each floor layout along with precise wall/ceiling measurements, each outlet, light switch, crown molding, other trim, type of flooring, any unique items to structure of property
Not sure why. So you can rebuild an exact duplicate of your house?

6. Put phones in a consistent place each night
When you need to call 911 you want to know where the phone is!

7. Get fire ladders for any second floor bedrooms
Safety first. And drill yearly. A fire is a bad time to learn the window is painted shut.

8. Scan each photo, again keeping them offsite, or on an online data backup service
We opted NOT to back up music files, those are replaceable. We do back-up all digital photos.
9. Do not be frugal with homeowner's insurance. Spend the extra $50 per year for the most coverage.

Bottom Line

This is good advice and the time to do it is now. You hope never to have a home fire but it is frighteningly common. U.S. fire departments responded to nearly 1.6 million fire calls in 2007 that resulted in thousands of deaths, tens of thousands of injuries, and billions of dollars in property loss.
At 40 percent, cooking is the leading cause of residential structure fires. Heating causes another 14 percent.

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1 Comments:

Blogger JennVan said...

As someone who has lost their home in a fire, these are good ideas that will help you in the event of a fire. The reason that you need to have an accurate drawing/floorplan of your home as well as any unique additions is that its your insurance companies best interest to pay you less that the amount you are insured for and each square foot makes a difference. In our experience we had to figure out some way to document every single item replaced, from windows and carpet to dishes and spice/food. If we couldn't document it, they would only give us an average or depreciated price. It was a secondary trauma the likes of which I hope no one ever has to go through again.

March 14, 2011 at 2:01 AM  

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