According to data collected by the Red Cross, 7 people die every day from a house fire. 36 people every day are injured from a house fire. Over $19 Million in property damage occurs every day. It would seem that our homes are more dangerous then we think they might be.
Here are the top causes for house fires and some ways that we can prevent them from happening, along with some other safety measures.
First on our list is cooking. Cooking is hands down the number one reason for house fires in the US. Grease fires get out of control so easily and without the proper tools and knowledge, a small grease fire can turn into a raging inferno. Water should never be used to extinguish even a small kitchen fire.
Just because you don’t see the grease, doesn’t mean it isn’t on fire or ready to catch fire. Instead, keep a fire extinguisher nearby. It should be rated “A-B-C” (or suitable for all fires) and located AWAY from the main heat source in the room. In the kitchen, that would mean storing it by sink or refrigerator, as these areas are typically away from the stove. They come in a few different sizes, a smaller “Kidde” brand version shown here. Having a fire extinguisher for each floor of your home is ideal.
Some other safe kitchen habits are; be mindful of the stove/oven and what is on or near the stove, don’t leave the kitchen unattended while actively cooking, and keep your countertops organized (reducing clutter around the stove is a good practice), regularly clean and maintain your stove and oven.
#2. Cigarette Smoking In The Home
Next on our list of fire hazards is cigarette smoking indoors. It is not the purpose of this article to discuss whether you should or shouldn’t smoke tobacco. I would simply encourage you that smoking outdoors is a much safer practice. But, if you choose to smoke indoors, here are some helpful safety tips.
- Never smoke while laying down in bed or on the sofa.
- Keep your ashtrays clean and empty them regularly.
- Keep matches and lighters up high, out of children’s sight and reach.
- Use ashtrays that are weighted or heavy to avoid tipping.
- Be certain your cigarette is fully extinguished before leaving it unattended.
For more cigarette smoking safety tips visit the NFPA website.
#3. Faulty Wiring
Faulty wiring can spark fires fast. When a lamp or appliance gets a frayed cord, it can become a real liability. It only takes one blazing hot spark to ignite furniture or carpeting. You might catch it during the day while you’re home.. maybe. But if it happens at night, it might be the sound of the smoke alarms that wake you in time to get out of the house. Electrical cord replacement is very cost effective. If you don’t feel comfortable with DIY electricity, find a local repairman to replace the cord. *DIY electrical work is another sited source of home fires.
This is especially important when it comes to our next fire hazard.
Each year, the Red Cross responds to nearly 66,000 disasters, the vast majority of which are home fires.
#4. Live Christmas Trees
We all love the smell of real pine Christmas trees. They were part of my family’s holiday tradition growing up. We never had a tree catch fire in the house, but some years we would chop it up and use the wood for a bonfire. I was always amazed at how incredibly flammable those dried out trees were.
Be sure to take the necessary precautions with your real trees.
- Keep them well watered. This may mean keeping the cats from drinking the tree water. Good luck.
- Don’t setup your tree near an active fireplace.
- Only use quality Christmas lights that are in good working order.
- Dispose of the tree shortly after the holidays. The longer it is up, the drier it will be.
#5. Space Heaters
They keep us warm on cold winter days, but if left unattended, they can have disastrous effects. Space heaters and similar heat devices account for 16% of all house fires.
Facts & figures
Based on 2009-2013 annual averages:
- Space heaters, whether portable or stationary, accounted for two of every five (40%) of home heating fires and four out of five (84%) of home heating fire deaths.
- The leading factor contributing to home heating fires (30%) was failure to clean, principally creosote from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys.
- Placing things that can burn too close to heating equipment or placing heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattress, or bedding, was the leading factor contributing to ignition in fatal home heating fires and accounted for more than half (56%) of home heating fire deaths.
- Nearly half (49%) of all home heating fires occurred in December, January and February.
-excerpt from NFPA.org
#6. Install Smoke Alarms
Our final tip, install smoke alarms. Just a few usually is all it takes. You should have one installed on every floor of your home. Ideally, placing them also outside of the bedrooms is what you want. Test them every month. Replace the batteries right away (they’ll typically beep to let you know when), and add them to your list of things that need cleaned regularly. Many smoke detectors can be cleaned with a vacuum hose or duster.
Alternatively, you can purchase a “10 Year” smoke alarm. These are sealed, require no battery changes, and last for 10 years. [Click here or the image to purchase.]
The small investment into fire safety and prevention for your home can save you thousands of dollars.
I hope that you have found these safety tips helpful. Like us on Facebook to see articles like this one in your Facebook Feed. This article is brought to you by Standard Casualty Company, your manufactured and mobile home insurance specialists. Let us give you quote today!