July 4th Fires

Fires are more prevalent during winter months, but around July 4th we see another spike of fire related claims. Summer fires are typically caused by fireworks, lightning strikes, open flame and dry vegetation, but also may occur due to suspicious activity. More fires are reported July 4th than any other day during the year.

Fires from suspicious activity, fireworks, lightning and dry vegetation are pretty self explanatory. Open flame includes fires started by torches, matches, lighters, candles, campfires, bonfires, warning flares, rubbish fires, open trash burners, outdoor fireplaces, hot embers, ashes, and rekindles. This term does not apply to those caused by suspicious activity, cooking, appliances, smoking or children playing with fire.

There are some basic safety tips you can follow to help prevent fires in your home, but for this article I will specifically address indoor and outdoor cooking. First, I’ve said it many times but it bears repeating: You must have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen and you must know how to use it!  When you are cooking do not wear loose clothing. You also want to keep kitchen towels, sponges, paper towels and potholders away from your stove.  Other items that could catch fire are food packaging, wooden utensils and curtains. Be sure your stove is plugged directly into the outlet. Never use an extension cord for your appliances. Oils are highly flammable. If you are cooking and your pan catches fire put a lid on it immediately. It is a good idea to keep a lid nearby with an oven mitt just in case. Once the lid is on, turn off the heat and do not uncover until the pan has cooled completely. Likewise if your oven catches fire, turn off the heat and do not open. Let the oven cool down completely before you open it. The most important tip here is to know when to get out of the house. It is always better to be safe and call for help if a fire doesn’t seem manageable. Things can be replaced, people can’t.

If cooking outdoors, take proper precautions to have a water source handy such as a hose in case the fire escapes containment.  You want to keep anything flammable away from hot coals or the grill burners and keep your grill far enough away from your home to prevent melting of siding and/or fire. Also, keep your grill away from fences, sheds, deck railings and out from under eaves. The grill should be on a flat service and always inspected to ensure it is in good working condition. Keep children and pets away from the outdoor cooking area. Do not wear loose clothing while cooking on the grill and never leave the grill unattended. When you have finished cooking, dispose of spent coals properly, but make sure they are cool first. For gas grills, be sure to close the gas tank.

Suffering property loss from a fire can be overwhelming and stressful to say the least. Whether it is a localized fire or a total loss, always remember that there is someone here to help you get through the claims process. My role as a Public Adjuster is to take the burden off you and process the claim on your behalf. We meet with your insurance adjuster, document the scope of the damage, inventory your personal belongings and fight for a settlement that is fair and within the limits of your policy. We’re with you every step of the way to help you so that you can get back to what is important..living your life. If you have any questions about a claim in process or a new claim, reach out to me direct at 570-730-8607 or by email at michelle@michellemurphypublicadjuster.com.

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