Its amazing how we all view our homes as safe havens. We (in Property Claims Loss assessors Ltd) come across domestic fires on a regular basis. Thankfully in almost all situations there hasn’t been an injury or loss of life. In 20 years assessing we’ve dealt with two cases involving loss off life. In both cases it was elderly people who became confused when the properties filled with smoke. Hopefully in this blog we can provide some useful tips. The first thing I want to point out is sources of fires.
- Kitchen fires – Most common . People put food on a pan, a grill , a chip pan etc and then get distracted
- Electric fuseboard – If you have one of the older screw in fuseboards it is advisable to replace with a modern safer one. Remember, always hire a professional, registered electrician to do this.
- Electric showers
- Immersion tanks – If you hear a constant hissing noise from the immersion turn it off and have it replaced.
- Candles – Lit beside curtains can be very dangerous
- Christmas trees – As the trees dry out over the xmas season they become very combustible and the heat from the lights (usually older lights) can cause fires
- Old tumble dryers
- Gas fired heaters – If drying clothes are placed too close they can catch fire
- If you have young kids don’t leave matches or lighter or candles lying around
- Install smoke detectors – hard wired is preferable. If battery – check annually
- To escape during a fire –‘fall and crawl ‘. It is easier to breath in a lower position.
- If your clothes go on fire – stop, drop and roll
- Inspect electrical cords – replace cords that are cracked, damaged, have broken plugs or have loose connections
Repairs and the Insurance Claim
Property policies all insure against fire and generally have few exceptions. The onus is on the policyholder (you) to present the claim. This can be difficult as people don’t realise or understand the full scope of damage. Smoke goes into electrical sockets , wiring conduits and any other little nook or cranny it can find. A thorough claims professional is required. In PCLA we have assessed fire damage for over 20 years. We are Engineers, Building Surveyors and Certified Insurance Practitioners. We understand not only building damage and property policies but the stress and trauma that you’re experiencing too. Our first survey is free and we are a ‘no win no fee’ company (ie if there is no payout there will not be a fee).
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