News - Fire safety is always in season
- March 01, 2011
As an organization with employees, volunteers and customers in all 120 counties of the state, Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) takes the personal health and safety of Kentuckians very seriously. Our staff and agents know fires in the home and on the farm can produce devastating results. As such, KFB encourages Kentuckians everywhere to take a few extra precautions to keep themselves, their loved ones and their property safe from home and farm fires.
During the last five years, KFB Insurance has paid out more than $253.5 million in insurance claims to policy holders reporting fire damage. More than 3,800 homeowners and 3,050 farm-owners were impacted by the destruction of a fire on their personal property – which amounts to an average of 115 total claims filed every month. While KFB agents and adjustors find partial property losses are more common than total structural losses, after working with policy holders who have experienced fire loss on their property, they would also agree even small fires can produce hefty damage. KFB homeowners lost an average of $44,000 while farm-owners lost an average of $29,000 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, the national fire death rate per capita is 13.2 deaths per million people annually. Kentucky’s current rate of 18.6 is not only well-above the national average, but it also ranks the Bluegrass State as the 14th highest rate in the country. While the national average of deaths and dollars lost in damage caused by fires in the home and on the farm has shown a downward trend over the past several years, KFB would like to see the Commonwealth positioned much lower on the national rankings in the near future.
As any firefighter will attest, 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. More than half of fire fatalities in the home occur when people are asleep. Taking a few extra moments to prepare for the worst can increase response times to a fire and, more importantly, help spare 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 is a high level of electric usage—rooms with computers and entertainment centers, 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. Studies show that when working smoke alarms are present, the chance of an occupant dying during a fire is cut in half.|
|•||Keeping a fire extinguisher in the home and/or on the farm can prevent small fires from spreading if used properly and quickly. Users should be aware of the types of fires 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 knows to 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 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.