The Most Common Causes of Home Fires and How to Avoid Them
Home fires can start unexpectedly, but taking preventative measures can greatly decrease the risk of a fire in your home. Although some home fire causes are quite obvious, it’s important to be aware of them and be proactive in preventing them. Here are some of the most common causes of home fires with tips on how to avert them:
Cooking is the number one cause of home fires. Unattended cooking, as well as grease build-up are the most frequent causes of fires in the kitchen. Always supervise the range or stove top when cooking and keep the kitchen surfaces free from grease to prevent fires. Find out more tips to prevent kitchen fires here.
2. Heating Equipment
During the colder months, heating equipment, such as electric heaters or fireplaces, are major fire risks in homes. Place heaters at a safe distance away from flammable materials and always supervise them when operating. Check your chimneys for creosote build-up periodically and never use flammable liquids to start a fire in the fireplace.
3. Electrical Causes
Outdated wiring and breaker boxes, as well as old appliances present a fire threat. Moreover, plugging too many appliances into an extension cord can cause the cords to overheat and start a fire. More electrical fire safety tips are available here.
Candle fires are more frequent during holidays, such as Christmas and Halloween. Keep candles away from curtains, decorations and other combustibles, and make sure candle holders are stable. Using battery-operated candles instead of real ones is much safer.
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. Smoke outside to avoid these risks. If you smoke inside, avoid doing so when tired, and use large and deep ashtrays.
6. Flammable Liquids
Liquids that can catch fire include gasoline, paints, cleaning agents, thinners, and more. Keep these chemicals in approved containers and away from electrical and heat sources. Store them outside, in a well-ventilated area.
7. Kids Playing with Fire
Some children play with fire out of curiosity, not realizing that it’s very dangerous. Keep lighters and matches out of children’s sight and reach. Also, try to avoid using lighters and matches in front of them, as many kids imitate what adults are doing. Discover more tips to keep children safe from fire here.
8. Christmas Trees
During the holiday season, many home fires can start due to negligent use of Christmas tree decorations. Electrical failures and candles are the main culprits of Christmas tree fires. Use only lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. In addition, replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Never decorate trees with lit candles.
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