Winter Safety Message from Tim Brown, President
Clients of BTS (Brown Thayer Shedd),
The season is upon us when burning fires becomes a common occurrence, sometimes daily.
Unfortunately, three of our insureds have experienced house fires over the last 2 months. All very extensive, one of these was a “total loss”. All were enjoying living room fires, where embers ended up igniting flames on the roof resulting in devastation. Fortunately, no one was harmed and in each case the family witnessed the tragedy before their eyes. All will be in alternative housing for an extended period. (see photos)
With that said you can assist yourselves in helping prevent such an event. It’s not a catchall but may minimize the chance of it happening:
- Have your chimney cleaned; If an older home a camera may determine if there is any compromised mortar in the chimney flue;
- Confirm you have a “spark arrestor” at the top of each chimney. This is a metal (mesh) grate that could prevent embers from escaping that could trigger a fire. (see photo)
- Water: Many towns lack sufficient public water to allow firefighters the volume to minimize damage and save your home. For example, the town of New Canaan (CT) does not have adequate hydrant coverage beyond a certain radius. This results in the need for shuttling water from ponds (where possible and not frozen) and mutual aid tankers from other towns. Unfortunately, this takes time.
Again, how can you help to potentially minimize a disastrous outcome? There is something called a “dry hydrant” (see photo). Simply, if the fire department deems a particular pond as a useable water source, a dry hydrant may be installed which will take the place of an actual hydrant. PVC pipe is installed towards the middle of the water source and run to an accessible location for a firetruck to attach hose. This could mean the difference between minimizing damage, saving or losing a home.
Neighbors could pool resources to minimize the associated costs and in some cases your insurance premiums could reduce. A dry hydrant can be incorporated into a newly built swimming pool, very easy and affordable.
An alternative is to bury a (water) cistern in the ground to which fire trucks can connect.
Again, these are efforts to provide as much opportunity as possible should an unfortunate situation occur.
Everyone feels it’s never going to happen to them….. Until it does. None of these families felt it would either.
I am happy to engage in discussion individually to discuss fire protection in greater detail.
Be well, be safe and enjoy the upcoming holiday season.
Tim Brown President,
BTS (Brown Thayer Shedd Insurance)