Did you know that the U.S. fire department, on average, responds to an estimated 354,400 home structure fires per year? These fires cause an estimated 11,220 civilian injuries, 2,620 civilian deaths, and estimated property damage of $6.9 billion.
The question now is, “How can we prevent house fires from destroying our lives?”
But first, we need to know what causes house fires? Heating, cooking, lighting equipment, smoking materials, electrical distribution, and intentionally set fires are the main causes of home fires.
Smoke is the leading cause of home fire deaths, while cooking causes most of these fires.
With this knowledge, let’s look at eight essential tips on how to prevent house fires.
- Be Prepared
Install smoke alarms: smoke alarms cut the chances of being killed by a house fire by half. Smoke alarms detect smoke and other abnormal air-bone combustion gases that aren’t visible to the naked eye.
Ensure that your family is aware of their sound and can tell of the warning.
Install carbon monoxide detectors: carbon monoxide is tasteless, colorless, and odorless. It’s highly toxic to both animals and humans. When CO combines with hemoglobin, it inhibits oxygen intake, resulting in seizures, progresses to a coma, and eventually death.
Smoke and fire detectors are the first line of defense against any probable fires in your home. They should be strategically placed in places where there is a likelihood of a fire and hallways. This helps in catching the problem and preventing a fire before it becomes an emergency.
Being aware of the smoke and gas alarms, knowing how to respond, and testing the alarms regularly is the easiest way of preventing house fires.
- Heat Source Inspection
It’s always advisable to have your heat sources inspected annually by a professional because a damaged or leaking heat source could trigger a fire. Clean out the filters and position the space heater away from anything flammable.
- Standard Electrical Safety
Damaged wires, chewed and frayed cords, wires with surge marks are a huge fire hazard. It would be best if you inspect all electrical appliances before plugging them. If there are any damaged wires or cords, replace them immediately.
Crowding cords onto one extension and overusing them can result in an electrical fire. Therefore, avoid overloading and overexposing electrical connections.
It’s critical not to run cables or wires under rugs or between the furniture and the walls because they sometimes get hot and lead to a fire.
- Take Safety Precautions
It’s important to note that fires occur, mostly during or around dinner time, between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Most fatalities from house fires occur between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. Therefore, it’s critical to equip your family with the fire rules of thumb: evacuate, stay out, and then call for help.
As a precautionary measure, train all your family members on what to do in case of gas leakage or fire. Have a family fire drill at least once every two months, where everyone can evacuate the house within the first two minutes of a fire.
Most staircases are engulfed with toxic gases, smoke, and flame as they act as chimneys for fires on the ground floor. It’s therefore critical to have an upstairs escape plan. Establish an assembly point where you can account for everyone.
- Don’t Leave Cooking Unattended
Most house fires originate from the kitchen. Unattended cooking causes more fires and home injuries than any other fire source, accounting for 48% of all home fires.
Burning food causes smoke damage. When grilling, frying in an open flame, simmering, cooking on low heat, baking, or roasting, you should never leave the cooking unattended. Instead, turn off the grill or hob completely.
Clean the oven and around the cooking area to avoid grease build-up. Hot grease ignites and can cause a fire.
Keep any flammable cloths, tissues, paper curtains, wooden utensils, gloves, and food packaging bags away from the cooking area.
- Use Battery Operated Candles
There are thousands of house fires caused by candles every year. 10% of candle fires begin when people are asleep, while 35% start in the bedroom.
People should consider using battery-operated candles to eliminate the risk of a fire. When using real flamed candles, keep them in open spaces.
When using the real flame candle, you should make sure that the candle holder is fireproof and is not placed on a flammable surface. The area around the candles should be void of shelves, table decorations, and curtains.
- Store Flammable Products Properly
Common cosmetic items and cleaners like shaving creams and hairspray can be hazardous when exposed to a large heat source. They should be stored in a cool area.
- Clean the Fireplace
A living room with a fireplace is a probable hazardous area. Keep the fireplace or the stove clear of any flammable item and debris. Also, take precautions when placing things like Christmas trees near the fireplace as this can turn hazardous.
The above are eight fire safety practices that can be used to maintain our homes and keep you safe, but they are not all you can do. In case of house fire damage, consult a public adjuster near me for the home damage inspection, repairs, and claims.
Prevent House Fires by Following These Tips
Home, they say, is where the heart is. It is, therefore, our duty to protect our homes from any damages.
Taking steps to prevent house fires is critical because it solves a problem before it manifests. Using the best house fire prevention practices assures us of our safety while at home.
Now that you know how to keep your home safe from fires, it’s time to learn about other home improvement tips and guides. Read our other informative posts for more information.