While some home fires are unpredictable, many of them can be prevented by taking appropriate measures. Some home fire causes are obvious, but it’s important to be aware of them and be proactive in preventing them. Here are the eight most common causes of home fires with tips on how to prevent them:
1. Cooking – Cooking is the number one cause of home fires. Unattended cooking, as well as grease build-up are the most frequent causes of kitchen fires. Ranges or stovetops should be supervised when cooking and kitchen surfaces must be kept grease-free to prevent fires. More tips to prevent kitchen fires can be found here.
2. Heating Equipment – Heating equipment, such as electric heaters or fireplaces, are major fire risks in homes during the cold months. Heaters should be placed away from flammable materials and must be supervised when operating. Chimneys should be inspected for creosote build-up periodically. Flammable liquids should never be used to start a fire in a fireplace.
3. Electrical Causes – Outdated wiring and breaker boxes, as well as old appliances present a fire threat. Furthermore, plugging too many appliances into an extension cord can cause cords to overheat and start a fire. More electrical fire safety tips are available here.
4. Candles – Candle fires are more frequent during holidays, such as Christmas and Halloween. Candles should be kept away from curtains, decorations, and other combustibles, and candle holders must be stable. Using battery-operated candles instead of real ones is much safer.
5. Smoking – Fires caused by lit cigarettes can start when a person falls asleep with a cigarette in hand or when the embers from a butt fall on combustible materials. Smokers should smoke outside and put out cigarettes in large, deep ashtrays.
6. Flammable Liquids – Liquids that can catch fire include gasoline, paints, cleaning agents, thinners, and more. These chemicals should be kept in approved containers away from electrical and heat sources. Combustible liquids should also be stored outside, in a well-ventilated area.
7. Children Playing with Fire – Some kids play with fire out of curiosity, not being aware of the risks. Lighters and matches must be kept out of children’s sight and reach. Using lighters and matches in front of them should be avoided, as many kids imitate what adults are doing. More tips to keep children safe from fire can be found here.
8. Christmas Trees – During the holiday season, many home fires can start due to careless use of holiday decorations. Electrical failures and candles are the main culprits of Christmas tree fires. Only lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory should be used. In addition, strings of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections must be replaced. Trees should never be decorated with lit candles.
To help prevent fires in their home, property owners should install smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, as well as a fire sprinkler system. The PuroClean team stands ready to provide professional restoration services to any property affected by fire, water, or mould damage.