Today's post is being written because of a sad fire that took place in Lansdale, PA over the weekend. Luckily, no one was killed, but a man is in the hospital with serious burns and injuries. One home destroyed, five homes damaged, sixteen people displaced. While we all are greeted with fire prevention material in the fire prevention month of October -we should think about fire prevention every month of the year!
The historic borough of Lansdale, Pa. (Montgomery County) is home to many families who live in houses that are 100 years or more old. Lansdale, with its mix of row homes, twins and singles, offers challenges for firefighters because older houses tend to have more opportunity for fires to start and spread.
Now, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with older homes! I live in a 98 year old beauty that I love. I'm just saying that as guardians of historic housing stock, we need to take precautions to protect our families and homes from fire.
- Smoke detectors, smoke detectors and more smoke detectors! One for every floor, and one in every bedroom. Because may historic row homes and twins have no fire wall (or any wall, for that matter) separating attic spaces where smoke and fire love to travel, consider having a hard-wired smoke and heat detector installed up there.
- Older housing may have been built before electricity. Your electric system may still have "knob and tube" wiring. You may have an electric system that was only designed for a few lights in every room. But today's modern living is so electrified! You may be overloading your electric panel without even knowing it. For about $100, you can have a licensed electrician audit your home's electrical system and make recommendations. Of course, this tip is only worthwhile if you make the necessary investments in your home and safety by following up on the electrician's suggestions!
- One hundred years ago, fire retardant materials were unknown. Look at all of the wood trim in your historic home. Beautiful, but also a fuel source for fire. And while the plaster walls in your home may have some natural resistance to fire, the wood lathe that they sit on does not. Because your home may be quite combustible, it is essential that you have regular fire drills and escape plans for your family. Many attics that were built for storage 100 years ago have since been finished off as living space. Can you safely get out of you third floor attic if the normal exit is blocked by fire? In this weekend's fire, the owner injured himself by jumping out of his third floor attic window. What a terrifying choice to have to make. Consider purchasing a fire escape ladder - and practice how to use it!
These are only a few ideas. Call your local fire company and ask them about fire prevention. They will be more than happy to help you out!
Realtor, ABR, CRS, PSA, SFR, SRS, SRES
415 North Broad Street
Lansdale, PA 19446
Direct: (215) 853-2624
Office: (215) 647-0700
Fax: (215) 529-8931
PA Lic # RM423982
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