As if creating bifocals and discovering electricity wasn't enough, here's yet another reason why Benjamin Franklin was ahead of his time: the inventor was also the driving force behind one of America's first fire insurance companies.
According to Tom Kiurski, a recent guest columnist for the Observer and Eccentric weekly newspapers, the Founding Father established the Philadelphia Contribution for Insurance Against Loss by Fire. Klurski references a letter Franklin wrote to his sister in 1778, noting Boston's fire problem at the time and fire mitigation tactics that seem to work--specifically building compartmentation and design to limit fire spread as well as noncomustible roofing materials.
"While we don't have the problem of fire spreading from one structure to the next as they did in Ben's days when roofs were made of straw and thatch, his thought of noncombustible roofing materials were well ahead of his time," says Kiurski, a training coordinator with the Livonia Fire Department in Michigan. "Many of us do not build our own homes, and we have to rely on the codes that were in existence at the time helping to limit the fire spread that Franklin referred to. But we can control what is in our homes that may start fires."
NFPA offers a number of home safety tips that probably would have gotten Franklin's seal of approval. Safeguard your home today.