Fall is the time when coastal Texans bid goodbye to our storm season, and other parts of the country prepare for theirs! But although we do not usually get “winter storms”, there are still some commonsense things you can do to make sure your home is ready for the cooler months:
Take care of trees and shrubs: Falling tree limbs are one of the leading causes of damage to homes – and one of the main reasons for home insurance claims. Inspect your trees carefully for any signs of disease, and have a professional arborist prune any dead branches.
Clean gutters and downspouts: After the last of the leaves have fallen, be sure to remove them from roofs, gutters, and downspouts. Clogged gutters can cause rainwater to pool, and lead to roof or siding damage. Moreover, excess leaves constitute a fire hazard – insurance carriers will usually request that you remove the leaves if they inspect your home.
Make exterior repairs: Maybe it’s finally time to replace that roof or siding! It is also important to seal any gaps, to prevent rodents and other vermin entering the home as the weather cools. Thinking of moving your home to another insurance carrier? Be aware that insurance companies will conduct a home inspection, and can refuse to insure your home unless it’s in good condition and any necessary repairs are made.
Check safety devices: Test all your smoke alarms, and replace the batteries if necessary. Check the expiry dates on your fire extinguishers.
Clean dryer vents: Lint buildup in dryer vents not only makes your dryer less energy efficient, but can also cause a fire. If you don’t know how to remove the lint yourself, call a professional to give your vents the once-over and make sure you’re in good shape for the dry winter season.
Give Memorial Insurance Agency in Houston a call if you have any questions about your homeowners insurance!
“In a typical home fire, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. That’s why home escape planning is so critical in a fire situation. It ensures that everyone in the household knows how to use that small window of time wisely.
Smoke alarms are a key part of a home fire escape plan. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast. Smoke alarms give you an early warning, so you can get outside quickly.
SMOKE ALARM TIPS
•Install smoke alarms in every bedroom. They should also be outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. Install alarms in the basement. Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
•It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds, they all sound.
•Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
•A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the stove.
•People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.
•Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.
IF THE ALARM SOUNDS
•If the smoke alarm sounds, get out and stay out. Never go back inside for people or pets.
•If you have to escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to find your way out.
•Call the fire department from outside your home.
GENERAL SAFETY TIPS
•Make a home escape plan. Draw a map of your home showing all doors and windows. Discuss the plan with everyone in your home.
•Know at least two ways out of every room, if possible. Make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily.
•Have an outside meeting place (like a tree, light pole or mailbox) a safe distance from the home where everyone should meet.
•Practice your home fire drill at night and during the day with everyone in your home, twice a year.
•Practice using different ways out.
•Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
•Close doors behind you as you leave.
U.S. fire departments respond to a home fire every 86 seconds. That’s over 1,000 fires a day. Home fires can occur for a variety of reasons, but many are preventable. Over 365,000 fires and 2,650 civilian deaths occur every year, resulting in $7 billion in property damage. Memorial Insurance Agency can help tailor your policy to provide the best coverage for your home and needs in case of a fire”.