While it’s certainly not a fun thing to think about, fires in homes happen all over the country hundreds of thousands of times each year and can not only lead to homes being damaged or completely destroyed but also lead to injury and loss of life.
While of course there are things you can do to clean up and rebuild after fire and smoke have razed your property, such as getting in touch with specialists like Service Master Restore, it’s obviously wise to work to prevent such damage and risk from occurring.
To stay safe from harm, it’s important you and all your family understand some of the things that regularly lead to home fires — many of which you may not have ever considered. Read on for 10 common fire causes you need to know about today.
Candles are one of the biggest causes of home fires around the country. While they’re very popular for aroma and ambiance, they also pose a significant risk if left unattended. Blow out candles if you’re getting sleepy or if you plan to leave the room. Always sit them in sturdy holders, so they’re not likely to fall over, and place them on level surfaces, too. Plus, ensure they sit away from any type of combustible material.
Another hazard that leads to home fires is cooking. To stay safe, never leave pots and pans unattended, and be wary of letting cooking oil get too hot and splattering onto flammable materials in the vicinity, such as curtains. Wear short, closely fitted sleeves when you’re cooking in the kitchen, so your clothing doesn’t accidentally catch. Also, don’t use pots and pans, deep fryers, ovens and other cooking equipment when you’re sleepy, drunk or have taken medicine that causes confusion or drowsiness.
Not surprisingly, many fires occur during winter when people use heating sources more frequently. Portable space heaters are one of the biggest issues. You should keep these in well-ventilated areas, at least three feet from fabrics, furniture, draperies and the like. Heaters should have a thermostat control and an automatic shut-off feature for safety. Fireplaces and wood stoves also increase risk. Prevent problems by placing a glass door or spark screen in front of the firebox to keep stray sparks and rolled logs from causing a fire.
Another common problem is faulty wiring. This is especially an issue in older homes that have bad internal wiring. To stay safe, look for signs of issues such as lights dimming whenever you plug in a new piece of equipment or circuit breakers or fuses blowing often. Hire an electrician to check over your home’s wiring to ensure everything is in good order.
Kids Playing With Matches
Sadly, home fires also get started because kids become intrigued by fire and play with matches. To stop this from happening in your household, talk to children about the dangers of matches and fire, and consider locking up necessary items in a safe place. Don’t leave children unsupervised around any source of flame either, whether stoves, fireplaces, candles or other things.
If you or anyone else in your home is a smoker, ensure care is taken with cigarettes or cigars. Smoldering butts can stay hot for longer than you might think, with the embers in them catching alight quickly if they happen to hit flammable objects. As such, make sure smoking items are properly put out. In addition, people should never fall asleep with a lit cigarette in hand.
Another risk factor to consider is flammable liquids. Things like kerosene, propane, gasoline etc. must be safely stored in proper containers and kept in isolated, well-ventilated areas. If you use kerosene or propane heaters, be careful to never overfill these. If spills occur, clean them up straight away.
Electrical equipment must be inspected for faults, frays and the like on a regular basis if you want to keep your home and family safe. Always replace worn or damaged cords ASAP, or throw appliances out if you cannot fix them effectively. Don’t overload wall sockets or extension cords with too many items either, as this might lead to sparks shooting out and causing fires.
There’s nothing quite like a backyard barbecue, especially during summer, but if you’re not careful when using your grill, you could end up with a house fire. To prevent this, position your grill (or alternatively fire pit) numerous feet away from your house and clear of timber decking, railings, trees and so on. Check gas connections routinely too.
Lastly, at this time of year when the holiday season is in full swing, you probably have Christmas trees and other lights and decorations spread around your home. If so, protect yourself by not leaving things switched on when you leave home or are in bed. Unfortunately, if circuits gets overloaded or wires become loose or otherwise damaged, fires can start before you know it.