Today, Bio-Clean Environmental Industries, serving Colorado and Wyoming, present you with our list of the top 10 causes of house fires. We know first-hand how devastating fires can be and have helped numerous clients with their fire clean-up and restoration. It’s our hope that you’ll never need us, so take a look at this list which can help protect your home and family.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an estimated 374,000 U.S. homes catch fire every year, and an average of seven people die in U.S. home fires every day.
Many of these house fires can be prevented if there are working smoke detectors in the kitchen and every floor of your home. Three out of five house fire deaths happened in homes that had no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Make sure yours have working batteries. A good habit to get into is changing your smoke detector batteries every time you change your clocks for daylight savings time. Also, every home should have and practice a fire escape plan.
Now, let’s look at NFPA’s top 10 causes of house fires that can be prevented through greater awareness and simply being a little careful around your home.
The NFPA reports that two out of every five home fires begin in the kitchen, including unattended cooking and the ignition of food or other cooking materials. Ranges and ovens cause the most fires and the lead activity causing fires is frying. At least half of the people that were injured in cooking fires were hurt because they tried to fight the fire by themselves. The kitchen is the most important place for a smoke detector, as well as a fire extinguisher. Never leave your stove unattended if it is on.
Heating equipment is usually the second leading cause of house fires, deaths, and injuries from a fire. Heating equipment that has not been cleaned is responsible for a lot of them. This means chimneys with a creosote buildup are dangerous and lead to fires. In addition, portable or fixed space heaters, including wood stoves, cause two out of every five home heating fires and are very deadly. It usually happens when the heating equipment is placed too close to combustible material like furniture, curtains, clothing, mattresses, and bedding. Space heaters can overload, so make sure there is plenty of space around them. Old and malfunctioning furnaces can also be responsible for a home fire, so have them inspected every year.
Fourth on our list of top 10 causes of house fires is smoking. In addition to the health risks from smoking cigars and cigarettes, it’s also the cause of many house fires. People often fall asleep with a lit cigar or cigarette and it catches the room on fire. Leaving a burning cigarette in an ashtray or if hot ashes fall on the carpet or curtain, it can cause a fire in the home. It’s best not to smoke in the house.
Everyone loves a cozy, warm fire in the fireplace but it can be a serious fire risk. The embers and sparks from an unprotected fire can jump out of the fireplace and start a fire. Fireplace fires can be caused by leaving fires unattended and also, as we mentioned earlier if the chimney is not cleaned, the creosote can cause a fire in your home as well.
You should have your fireplace inspected every year, and it’s best not to cook in your home’s fireplace. Be careful when using kindling. The open fire in your fireplace must be supervised with extreme caution and a fire extinguisher should be nearby.
Electrical problems can cause house fires. An overloaded circuit board, power cord or faulty extension cord can quickly result in a fire. Always check the number of watts you are plugging into an extension cord. It’s helpful to have a certified electrician complete a yearly inspection of the electrical wiring.
Unattended candles are an extreme fire hazard. The open flames of candles can cause a fire. Always make sure any lit candles are not left burning if you are leaving the room. Do not assume because they are in a candle holder that they are safe.
Dryers packed with debris like lint are a leading cause of house fires. You should clean the lint screen after every dryer load. If you don’t, the dryer works harder to push the hot air through the combustible ball of lint. You should clean and maintain your dryer and have a professional cleaning every year. Make sure your dryer sheets, which are extremely flammable, are kept in a dry location far away from the dryer. In addition, improper dryer venting can also cause fires.
Next on our top 10 causes of house fires list are Christmas trees. This festive tradition can cause fires if they are placed close to fireplaces, candles, and other fire sources. Sometimes even the lights and electrical cords on a very dry Christmas tree can create a fire. Be sure to keep your tree watered and turn off the tree lights when you aren’t there.
Be aware that any flammable product should be stored properly. The garage may contain gasoline and oil but they need to be stored away from other potential fire sources. Also, debris like sawdust, oily rags, and paint thinner are extremely hazardous. If you have to keep them in your home, make sure they are safe.
Kids Playing with Fire
Kids are drawn to fire and love to watch it. They often put things in a fire to see how it burns, but this can be very dangerous. Kids playing with fire is the cause of many house fires. Young children should not be able to get matches, lighters, and flammable materials. Any time children are around a fire they should be supervised and taught about the dangers of fire.
If you know about the top 10 causes of house fires, you can put a plan in place to prevent them. But if you do suffer the tragedy of a destructive house fire, our restoration team at Bio-Clean Environmental Industries, serving both Colorado and Wyoming, can help you clean up and restore your home to its pre-fire condition. We’ll get your home and life back on track.