Annually, U.S. fire departments respond to nearly 400,000 home fires that cause serious harm. These include over 2,000 civilian deaths, more than 12,000 fire-related injuries, and $6.7 billion in damage.
A house fire is something most people believe will never happen to them, as they think it’s an avoidable tragedy. But if you aren’t actively working towards removing fire risks and making your home safe, you can’t be sure your home is truly safe from fire.
Leading Causes of Home Fires
If you’re looking to make your house safer, the good news is that the top causes of home fires are all things you can monitor and hopefully prevent.
The main issues noted by the National Fire Protection Association are:
- Cooking Equipment
- Smoking in the Home
- Curious Children
Each of these can be easily addressed. And with the right planning, you can take measures to keep you, your loved ones, and your home safe from fire.
Preventative Measures to Reduce Risk of Fire
1. Cooking Equipment
Pots and pans can overheat quickly, things can boil over, or maybe a drop of oil pops out of place. Whatever the cause may be, cooking is the number one reason fires start. Never leave your cooking unattended. And if you must step out of the room, make sure someone is there to keep an eye on it.
Portable heaters should always be kept at least three feet away from other objects (think curtains, rugs, side tables, even yourself).
As far as central heating, furnaces should have yearly inspections.
3. Smoking Materials
Smoking in the home is dangerous, particularly in the bedroom.
If you don’t properly put out a cigarette, the butt could stay lit for hours and burst into flames if it comes in contact with flammable materials (dust and lint for example). It’s always best to keep the smoking to the outside.
While these are staples of any cozy home, they can also be very dangerous.
Never leave lit candles unattended, make sure they are far enough away from other objects, and always blow them out when finished and before you leave the house.
5. Curious children
Unfortunately, kids are very curious and will likely set something on fire just to see what happens.
Keep lighters, matches, and other fire starters locked away and out of a child’s reach. Put smoke detectors in their rooms, and practice a safe escape plan with your children.
Most of the above tips are easily implemented, but if you’re looking for some extra safety precautions to take, we have a few that are worthwhile.
- Install at least one smoke detector on each level of your home, including basements and garages
- Test your smoke detectors monthly to ensure the batteries are still working
- Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, garage, and any other area that may seem necessary. Then be sure to educate yourself and your loved ones on how to use it properly.
- Place safety plugs in electrical outlets
- Replace cords that are frayed or broken
We hope that these tips have been useful and that you and your home stay safe! If you’d like an expert opinion on how safe your home really is, schedule an inspection. Our team of experienced professionals will be able to tell you which areas of your home may be at risk.
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