Hot topic: Fire safety is always in season

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 66 Kentuckians died in home fires in 2020. KFB Insurance encourages Kentuckians to take a few extra precautions to keep themselves, their loved ones, and their property safe from home and farm fires.

Taking a few extra moments to prepare for the worst can increase response times to a fire and, more importantly, help save a life. | Photo credit: Adobe Stock

Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) Insurance takes the personal health and safety of Kentuckians very seriously. Our staff and agents know that fires in the home and on the farm can produce devastating results. We encourage Kentuckians to take a few extra precautions to keep themselves, their loved ones, and their property safe from home and farm fires.    

Between 2016 and 2020, KFB Insurance has paid out more than $321 million in insurance claims to policyholders reporting fire damage. More than 2,700 homeowners and 2,200 farm-owners were impacted by the destruction of a fire on their personal property – which amounts to an average of about 81 total claims filed every month. While KFB agents and adjusters find that partial property losses are more common than total structural losses, after working with policyholders who have experienced fire loss on their property, they would also share that even small fires can produce hefty damage. KFB homeowners lost an average of $63,700 while farm-owners lost an average of $37,900 per claim.

More alarming than the financial impact of a fire in the home and on the farm is when a life is lost under those circumstances. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 66 Kentuckians died in home fires in 2020.       

Most home fires – and most injuries related to home fires – begin in the kitchen. The most dangerous time for a fire to occur in the home, however, is at night. About half of all fire fatalities in the home occur when people are asleep, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Taking a few extra moments to prepare for the worst can increase response times to a fire and, more importantly, help save a life.

A few fire safety tips to remember:­­­­

  • Every level of a house should have a smoke detector, but they should also be positioned in the space directly outside of sleeping areas and inside each bedroom. Kitchens and other areas where there are high levels of electric usage – rooms with computers and other electronics, such as gaming consoles, for example – need smoke detectors as well.
  • A smoke detector is only as effective as its power source. Be sure to test and change batteries often. When working smoke alarms are present, the chance of an occupant dying during a fire is cut in half, according to FEMA.
  • Keeping a fire extinguisher in the home and on the farm can prevent small fires from spreading if used properly and quickly. Users should be aware of the types of fires that a home-use extinguisher can address, as not all units are universal in their extinguishing capabilities.
  • Make an escape plan and review it with everyone who lives in the house. Slow decision making in a fire can cost lives; acting quickly to follow a practiced escape plan can save them.
  • If a fire does occur, make sure everyone knows where to meet outside and that they go there immediately. A headcount should be made of everyone known to be inside the home when the fire was first noticed.
  • Should someone’s clothing catch fire, quickly initiate the “stop, drop, and roll” method to smother the flames.
  • Designate one person to call from a cell phone or neighbor’s house to report the fire.
  • After escaping a structure on fire, do NOT go back in for any reason. If someone is missing, inform the fire fighters so a safely performed search and rescue can be conducted.

Fires can occur at any time and happen to anyone. While simple awareness and a few precautionary steps can help eliminate many fires from ever starting, a fire can also ignite without anyone’s knowledge or for reasons beyond their control. KFB urges Kentuckians to take the time to prepare their homes, farms and families for the unpredictable and unfortunate circumstance of a fire, because safety is always in season.

>> At Kentucky Farm Bureau, we’re just as invested in your home sweet home as you are. We help protect what’s important to you – from farms and fishing boats to minivans and mobile homes. To see a full list of products we insure, click here.