It’s one of the scariest emergencies most of us can imagine: a house fire. Fortunately, the vast majority of house fires are caused by only a few common things, and there are steps you can take to help prevent them. Here are the four most common causes of house fires:
Kitchen fires are the number one cause of home fires and related injuries, and the most common cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. Pots and pans can overheat and cause a fire very easily if the person cooking gets distracted and leaves cooking unattended. Always stay in the room or ask someone to watch your food. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop. Stay in the kitchen while you are cooking and use a timer to remind you. Keep anything that can catch fire (oven mitts, wooden utensils, boxes, towels, or curtains) away from your stovetop.
Local fire departments responded to an estimated average of 52,050 fires involving heating equipment each year in 2012-2016, accounting for 15% of all reported home fires during this time period. These fires resulted in annual losses of 490 civilian deaths, 1,400 civilian injuries, and $1 billion in direct property damage. Most home heating fire deaths (86%) involved the use of space heaters. Keep portable heaters away from anything that could easily catch fire such as furniture, curtains, laundry, and clothing. If you have a furnace, get it professionally inspected once a year to make sure it is working to safety standards.
Did you know that fires started in a bedroom make up 73% of all house fire fatalities? Cigarettes, pipes, and cigars started an estimated 17,200 home structure fires reported to U.S. fire departments in 2014. These fires caused 570 deaths, 1,140 injuries and $426 million in direct property damage. A cigarette that is not put out properly can stay lit for several hours and burst into flames if it comes into contact with flammable materials, such as furniture.
In 2012-2016, electrical or lighting equipment was involved in 35,100 reported home structure fires, on average, per year. An electrical appliance can start a fire if it is faulty or has a frayed cord. A power point that is overloaded with double adapter plugs can cause a fire from overuse of electricity. A power point extension cord can also be a fire hazard if not used appropriately. Double check the appliances and power points in your home. Check electrical cords to make sure they are not running across doorways or under carpets where they are can get damaged. Have a qualified electrician add more outlets in your home to reduce the use of extension cords. Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the lamp or fixture and check the sticker on your lamps to determine the maximum wattage light bulb to use.
Electricity helps make our lives easier but there are times when we can take its power and its potential for fire-related hazards for granted. To help reduce your risk, it is so important to have all electrical work done by a qualified electrician, including electrical inspections, when buying or remodeling a home. Speedy Electric & AC can help! Call us today at 972-775-6686!