24 Feb What you need to know about house fires
If you ever have to deal with a house fire, time is of the essence. Learn about house fires to help you make the best decisions if ever in that circumstance.
Fires spread quickly
In less than a minute, a small kitchen fire can spread to threaten your home and family. Most home materials are highly flammable; once the fire takes hold you have literally a couple of minutes to either contain it or get out before it’s too late.
Almost half of home fires start in the kitchen
Once oil or fat ignites on the stove, it’s just seconds before the fire spreads to cabinets and surroundings. The best way is to put out a cooking fire, is by depriving it of oxygen. Cover it with a lid, or other non flammable objects, like cookie sheets or other pots. If you have a fire extinguisher handy, you can use that as well. Don’t attempt to move a pot in flames, or put it off with water, as you may spread the fire and you’ll risk serious burns.
Smoke is dangerous
Smoke is just as dangerous as the fire itself – in less than 2 minutes after a fire started, the resulting carbon monoxide levels cut survival times to less than one minute. Open outside windows and doors.
Evacuate to safety & call the fire department as soon as possible
Fires get out of hand quickly. If the fire seems to be spreading, don’t take any chances. Fires go from ignition to being lethal in minutes. Be aware of this timeframe. Before it’s too late, evacuate everyone to safety, and call the fire department. All else can be, more or less, replaced.
The room could be completely engulfed in flames in less than 4 min
Flashover, where everything burst in flames because of the high temperature, occurs in less than 4 minutes after the fire started – the room will be completely engulfed in flames, and the fire will spread to adjacent rooms and floors.
In as little as 6 minute, the house could be entirely destroyed
In as little as 6 minutes after the fire starts, the temperature could reach 1000 degrees F. At this temperature, most construction materials ignite, and steel plates used in floor and roof support loose their load carrying capacity. The entire house is in danger of collapsing.
It may be weeks or months before you could go back home
Most homes are inhabitable after a fire, even if the fire was contained to one room. Smoke and soot damage will likely affect the entire home and all belongings. Surfaces may be contaminated by hazardous particulates and toxic elements like arsenic or cyanide, that resulted from burning of particulate wood or synthetics. A heavy smell will permeate clothes even in distant closets, there may be structural damage that needs to be addressed, and also water damage from putting out the fire.
Fire damages are costly to repair
Even a small kitchen fire can result in property damages of tens of thousands of dollars. Because of the high costs, insurance companies will take all steps to mediate their losses from fire claims. So should you.
Have you suffered a fire loss?
Let us help! Our licensed public adjusters, appraisers and loss consultants have helped hundreds of Michigan homeowners recover from devastating fire losses and get the best insurance claim settlements they are entitled to.