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    Winter Home Safety Tips to Keep Your Family Safe This Season

    Pumpkin spice season may be in full swing, but winter is coming! As we head toward colder weather, what can you do to help ensure your home and family are safe and snug when Santa arrives? In this blog post, we’ll give you some winter home safety tips to help keep your family safe this season.

    Winterize Your Pipes

    When the weather gets below freezing, outside water can freeze and burst exterior pipes—which is a costly repair! Take steps to avoid frozen pipes by disconnecting water hoses and letting exterior faucets drain out completely. If temperatures drop sharply overnight, let a small stream of water trickle out of the exterior faucet to prevent potential pressure buildup that could cause pipes to burst.

    Prevent Fire Hazards

    A residential fire is a homeowner’s worst nightmare—damage to property is often total, and the safety of loved ones and pets can be in jeopardy. Safety reports that, each year, fires are responsible for over 2,500 deaths and $7 billion in property damage. Here are four tips for reducing fire hazards in your home:

    1. Test Your Smoke Detectors

    According to US Insurance, about half of all residential fire deaths occur between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., when most people are asleep in bed. Make sure that you have smoke alarms on every level of your home, and that they’re positioned close to the bedrooms so that the noise from the alarm will wake you out of a deep sleep. Remember to test all of your smoke detectors once per month and change the batteries if necessary.

    2. Check Your Heating System

    When you start running your heater for the season, remember to replace the filter in your furnace. Last year’s filter will likely be dirty, and a dirty filter will clog the flow of air through the heating system. This is a potential fire hazard, and it also causes your heater to have to work more and will likely drive up the cost of your energy bill.

    3. Clean the Chimney and Fireplace

    It’s a good idea to call a professional in to inspect and clean your chimney once every year or two. Fireplaces that are used regularly should have an annual cleaning at the beginning of the season to prevent dangerous chimney fires. Make sure to test your fireplace flue for a tight seal when closed.

    4. Replace Faulty Wiring

    Loose connections, damaged electrical outlets, and faulty wiring can become serious fire hazards if they go overlooked. It’s not uncommon to have outdated electrical work in your home, but if damaged, it can cause electricity to arc and spark, leading to a potentially devastating fire.

    If you’re stringing up lights on your Christmas tree that have been in storage all year, be sure to double check the wires and connections, because trees are very flammable!

    Related Reading: 7 Tips to Reduce Fire Hazards in Your Home

    Stock Up on Emergency Supplies for Cold Weather

    Here are some indispensable cold-weather supplies that the National Weather Service recommends stocking up on—before you need one of the items in an emergency and are snowed in!

    • A flashlight and extra batteries

    • Battery-powered NOAA weather radio and portable radio to receive emergency information

    • Extra food and water—high-energy food, such as dried fruit or candy, and food requiring no cooking or refrigeration is best

    • Extra medicine and baby items

    • First aid supplies

    • Heating fuel—fuel carriers may not reach you for days after a severe winter storm

    • Emergency heating source, such as a fireplace, wood stove, or space heater—be sure to use in a properly vented area

    • Hand and foot warmers

    • Fire extinguisher and smoke detector

    Review Your Homeowners Insurance Policy

    Homeowners insurance helps protect your home (and pocketbook) against damage or loss from fire and other covered disasters. There are ways to save money on your homeowners insurance, such as bundling multiple policies with one company to cover your home, car, and life insurance. Consider talking to your insurance agent about other ways to lower your rate.

    Click here to request a homeowners insurance quote now!

    Tyreo Harrison

    As Executive Vice President, B2C Channel Development, Tyreo Harrison enables referral partners and financial institutions to offer personal, commercial and surplus lines insurance products to increase non-interest income, improve borrower retention and add value to their service offering. He maintains his General Lines Agent Licenses for Property and Casualty, Life, Accident, Health, and HMO. He is a graduate of the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce Leadership Lab and in 2008 was named as one of the San Antonio Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” Rising Stars. Prior to joining SWBC in 2005, Tyreo played professional football for the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers.

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