Building a home is usually a lifetime opportunity for many. It involves a huge investment, both in terms of monetary and emotional investments. It is therefore critical to get your home absolutely right, at the first go. There are certain measures you need to take to protect and insure your house from possible threats such as burglar, fire, and other natural and man-made disasters.
According to a report by the National Fire Protection Association, “U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 366,600 home structure fires per year during the five-year-period of 2007-2011.” In 2013 alone, there were 369,500 home fire incidents in the U.S. that killed more than 2,700 civilians and injured 12,200 more. The estimated property damage was around $6.8 billion.
If you are planning to build your dream house, there are a few things you need to take care of and fireproofing your house is definitely one of them. It is also important that you hire the right contractors who have years of experience in building fireproof homes. Find fireproofing experts is easy these days. There are several local contractors offering such services. For example, if you are looking for contractors with fireproofing expertise in Alaska, simply Google the term “Alaska Fireproofing Contractors” and you will get a whole list of contractors in the area with experience in building fireproofing homes.
What Makes Your Home Fireproof & How Contractors Can Help
As a homeowner you should know what makes your home fireproof in order to ensure that your contractor has covered all the aspects to protect your house against major fire incidents. There is one thing you need to understand – fireproofing your house only makes the structures of your house resistant to fire and doesn’t guarantee complete protection against fire. However, fireproofing your house ensures that the damage would be minimal as the structure has the ability to withstand high temperatures.
An experienced contractor would follow the parameters provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology to design a fireproof home. Here’s how experienced contractors can help you choose the right material to strengthen your house against fire.
One thing you need to stop using in order to make your house fire resistant is wood or other substances that are combustible and prone to catching fire quickly. For example, ask your contractor to replace your wooden roof with materials like composites, metal or tile as they are more fire resistant. Also, avoid using wood products for your walls; instead, use ignition resistant building materials such as fiber cement, stucco, treated wood, fire retardants, and other approved materials.
Similarly, a good contractor will ensure that all vent openings are covered with metal mesh so that there are no space for flying embers. Installing dual-pane windows would lower your risk of breakage in a fire, especially if you have one pane of tempered glass in the windows.
An experienced contractor would use ignition resistant materials for patio coverings and cover stovepipe outlets and chimneys with non-combustible metal screen material to prevent flying embers from escaping/igniting a fire. He would even recommend a weather stripping installation under and around the garage door and fence your house using non-combustible and non-ignition material to further enhance your safety against fires.
In addition, a good fireproofing contractor would construct your driveways according to your state and local codes. Remember that it is essential to build the driveways in such a way that fire and emergency vehicles can easily reach you in time of need.
Finally, a responsible contractor would recommend you to install multiple garden hoses or a pump, if you have a pool/well that can reach the whole house in case of a fire breakout.
You Need More Than a Fireproof Structure
While building a fire resistant house would minimize the impact of the incident, there are certain best practices you need to follow to further safeguard your house against a fire.
Install Smoke Alarms: Ask your contractor to install smoke alarms in your home. If you have a pre-existing house, it’s never too late to install one. Additionally, check the batteries at least twice a year. Smoke alarms are great tools to alert you instantly, if a fire does occur.
Get a Fire Extinguisher: A simple step like investing in a fire extinguisher would further enhance the safety of your house against a fire breakout. There should be at least one fire extinguisher in each room, including one in the basement and one in the kitchen and other place like where fire is ignited regularly.
Fireproof Carpeting & Fireproof Furniture: By installing fireproof carpeting, you can slow down the progress of a fire or, even better, reduce the chances of a fire breakout significantly. Additionally, consider investing in fire resistant furniture. You can simply upgrade your existing furniture by coating it with fireproof chemicals.
A Few Safety Precautions
Certain safety measures will help you avoid a fire occurring in your home. For example, remove your old flammable items like newspapers, magazines, boxes and clothes to diminish your chances of a fire as these items are definite fire hazards. Similarly, never leave your candles unattended. In fact, they are one of the major reasons of house fires.
Another safety rip is to clean your lint trap on a regular basis. The accumulated lint often causes overheating of your dryer, which further lead to a fire. It is also crucial to maintain your furnace to keep the fires at bay. Change your filters at regular intervals to avoid overheating of the furnace, which often lead to a fire.
Overloading of your electrical wires is another reason for fire breakouts; make sure your fireproofing contractor has installed your electrical wires properly to avoid such hazards. Finally, it is recommended to check your electrical cords and appliances regularly and replaced any worn out and frayed item.
These simple tips and precaution would safeguard your house against a fire and help you avoid property damages and loss to human lives caused by fire. A small step like using fire resistant materials in building your house or coating all other items with special, fire-resistant paints and chemicals would take you a long way in protecting your house and our loved ones. It is essential to adhere to fire safety norms and design every aspect of your housekeeping fire safety in mind.
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