House fires are devastating events that can damage homes and possessions within minutes. Unfortunately, they often happen unexpectedly as well, sometimes causing fatalities and injuries.
While adequate insurance and professional fire damage clean up can help you get back up after a fire, prevention is still better than cure. Understanding what commonly triggers house fires and taking the necessary steps to keep them in check can go a long way in safeguarding your property and protecting yourself and your loved ones.
We’ve listed the six top causes of home fire damage and the practical ways you can mitigate their risks.
According to the National Fire Protection Association or NFPA, cooking fires cause almost half of all residential fires.
With that said, it’s worth noting that most accidents start from unsupervised food left cooking in oil or an oven. Grease is a highly flammable substance that combusts spontaneously when it becomes overheated. Besides this, toasters, electric grills, and other portable cooking appliances can also create kitchen fires.
The most straightforward way to prevent cooking-related fires is to keep a close eye on any food you cook at all times. If you have to leave the kitchen for a while, asking another adult to look after it is recommended. And in case you experience grease fires, never attempt to put out the fire with water and cause hot grease to explode. Instead, call your fire department right away.
Appliances such as space heaters are essential to keep your home comfortable during the colder months. However, they can also pose fire risks, especially when they’re not safely monitored. For example, fuel-powered heaters can blow up if left unsupervised and electrical heaters can start fires from nearby draperies brushing against them.
Remember to keep your heating equipment away from combustibles such as curtains, furniture, baskets, and laundry. Following the manufacturer’s instructions and ensuring your appliances are in good working order can also help you avert potential fires.
According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), 51,000 fires yearly are caused by home wiring problems. These fires resulted in 500 deaths and $1.3 billion in property damage.
Electric-related fires usually occur because of short circuits or wires that overheat due to overloading. It’s worth emphasizing that such fires should be taken seriously because they are often destructive and deadly. Since electrical fires typically ignite in locations hidden from view or while homeowners are sleeping, they can become major fires before they become aware of them.
The first step you can take today to prevent electrical problems from turning into devastating fires is to have the wires in your home thoroughly checked by a licensed electrician.
The NFPA also reported that fires caused by smoking materials account for as many as 600 deaths and 1,100 injuries every year. All it takes is single stray ash to set a mattress, blanket, bed, or couch on fire and cause fatal injuries.
To prevent smoking-related fire risks, we advise using an ashtray, properly discarding ashes, and smoking outside whenever possible.
Candles caused an average of 7,600 fires, 81 deaths, and 677 injuries each year from 2014 to 2018 according to the NFPA. These figures show just how crucial it is never to leave burning candles unattended.
Christmas and New Year’s are specific times you’ll want to be attentive to the candles you use. While they make for a heartwarming addition to your family dinners, you must never forget to extinguish them before leaving the room.
On top of that, matches and lighters should also be kept out of children’s reach. If you have little ones in the family, make sure to keep them locked in a secure place to prevent accidents.
Apart from your candles, decorations are another common cause of home fires during the holiday season. This is because real evergreen trees eventually dry out, making them more susceptible to burning with the hot light bulbs adorning them.
While fires caused by holiday decorations are not as common as those in this list, they can still engulf a room in seconds. This is why it’s crucial never to leave Christmas lights and other decorations plugged in when you are not home. If you have a natural tree, keeping its water reservoir full can help ensure you’ll all have a safe and pleasant holiday season.
Identifying potential hazards and understanding their corresponding prevention measures enables you to fireproof your home. But you can further safeguard your property by having a local team you can call for fire damage clean up, like Restoration 1 of East Baton Rouge. Call us today to get expert help! We are available 24/7 to respond to your needs.