Plan in case of house fire

Does your family have a plan in the case of a house fire?

By Crystal Moyer - Traffic/reporter
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - You've probably seen a lot of house and commercial fires in the news lately. Some turned out to be tragic. But are you or your family prepared in the case of a fire?

Marty Jones is an agent for The Holmes Organization, providing risk management and insurance services, and has some tips on how you and your families can have a plan in place in case of a fire.

Jones says first thing is to have a plan to get out of the house, and where to meet up; saving lives is the most important thing.

Then there is the physical aspect: personal items, documents, etc.

Making plans now will greatly reduce the risk of loss to life and personal property, according to Jones.

On average, seven people die a day in house fires. Over 60% of deaths occur in homes that do not have smoke detectors or where smoke detectors do not work.

According to Jones, the elderly and young children are those most at risk during a house fire.

It's important to check your smoke detectors on a regular basis to make sure the unit works. This will help remind you to change the batteries if they are dead.

Every family should have an evacuation plan. Make sure someone is assigned to help children and those with disability issues. Jones recommends every family to practice their plan by having a fire drill.

If you need to leave, stay out of the house!

Review your homeowner insurance policy at least once a year to make sure the limits are sufficient to rebuilt your home and to replace personal property. Assuming more risk for smaller losses with higher deductibles will, in many cases, reduce the impact of additional premiums for higher limits of coverage, according to Jones.

If something happens, saving lives should be the only concern. Most personal property can be replaced, people cannot.

To avoid losing important files, back up the documents to an external location on a regular basis. Place copies of irreplaceable memorabilia and other family documents in a safe deposit box or other safe location away from the home. Take pictures of the contents of your house and store them away from the home as this documentation will help settle the claim with the insurance company, according to Jones.

If you follow these steps, Jones says you'll minimize your family's risk of serious harm from a fire and also be able to recover business materials and family treasures quickly and cost-effectively.

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