We tend to think of our home as our refuge. Our safe place to live, rest, and relax. So, it can be one of the most devastating life events if home fires occur.
One of the best ways to prevent a home fire is to know what potential dangers may be around your home. Identifying these dangers can help you keep your property and family safe before it’s too late.
The number one cause of home fires is cooking, according to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). Most residential fires start in the kitchen. They are usually due to unattended cooking, especially when using grease or oil on a stovetop. Once a grease fire has started, it can be quite difficult to extinguish. Some helpful tips when cooking:
- Always stay in the kitchen when conducting heat source cooking
- Keep flammables such as dish towels, oven mitts, and food packaging away from the stovetop
- Never dump water on a grease fire. Doing so may cause the hot grease to explode, making the fire much worse
- Know how to use a fire extinguisher and keep one somewhere in your kitchen where it is easily accessible
This is the second leading cause of home fires. Of course, we need heat in our homes, but portable space heaters, wood stoves, and fireplaces can cause concern when you don’t use them properly. Some helpful tips when using heating sources:
- Use space heaters to heat only a small area of the home
- Many fires started by space heaters begin in a bedroom. Keep space heaters away from objects that can burn quickly, such as mattresses, curtains, bedding, clothing, and upholstered furniture
- Clean your chimney. Soot and creosote (a tar-like substance that is a byproduct of burning wood) can build up over time, causing a chimney fire. It all stays in the chimney until you get someone to remove it
- Keep flammables away from the front of a fireplace, in case wood pops, sending sparks from the fireplace
- Electrical Fires
Electricity makes our lives more convenient. When it isn’t harnessed or used correctly, it can cause fire hazards. Many electrical issues hide behind walls or ceilings. Some helpful tips to prevent electrical fires:
- Use extension cords temporarily. You shouldn’t use them as a permanent power source
- Don’t use electrical devices with damaged power cords. Cracked or frayed cords need to either be repaired or thrown away
- Watch for hidden electrical issues. Look out for flickering lights, appliances, or walls that feel hot to the touch. Also, take note of unexplained burning smells. Cut the power source and contact your landlord or a certified electrician for repairs
Candles can make your home smell nice as well as create a lovely ambiance. But you always need to use caution since you’re allowing an open flame in your home. Some tips when using candles:
- Never leave a candle unattended. Remain awake and in the room where the candle is burning
- Make sure there are no combustible materials near a burning candle. Home décor, curtains, carpet, and clothing are the biggest culprits of what can catch fire near an open flame
Most home fires that begin because of smoking happen in a bedroom or living room. A very small heat source at the end of a lit cigarette can start a quickly spreading fire. Some tips to prevent a fire when smoking:
- Smoke outside
- Make sure you completely extinguish all cigarettes. Use a sturdy ashtray or douse the cigarette in water or sand
- Never smoke near medical oxygen equipment
- Don’t leave electronic cigarettes unattended while charging. Fires have occurred when batteries fail and explode
Fire is an unreliable source and can intensify quickly. Make sure the everyday activities you do in your home do not become dangerous due to complacency. You can prevent all five of these causes with a bit of awareness and understanding.
At Allied Restoration, we help our customers recover from home fires, mitigating fire, smoke, and water damage. The best remedy is always prevention. When the worst happens, call us at Allied Restoration, and we will get you back to best!