Top Five Causes of Home Fires and How to Lessen Risk

A fire is every homeowner’s worst nightmare. In addition to being incredibly destructive, home fires are also traumatic and often rob homeowners of deeply personal and irreplaceable items.

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Fortunately, home fire rates are down a whopping 19.5% from 2002 due to advancing technologies. There are a variety of things homeowners can do to further decrease their risk. Here are the top five causes of home fires as well as actions homeowner can take to reduce their home fire risk:

1) Cooking Equipment

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Cooking equipment can cause a fire in a variety of ways. If a homeowner leaves something on the stove and forgets about it for an extended period of time or exits the home, cooking equipment can easily overheat and set curtains or walls ablaze. Additionally, when a pot sputters, boils over, or spits oil, it can easily ignite neighboring materials.

To lessen the risk of fires caused by cooking equipment, homeowners should double-check that the stove is turned off before they leave the house, keep combustible materials (such as paper and hand towels) away from the stove, and install high-quality smoke alarms in the kitchen area.

2) Heating Equipment

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Heating equipment in older houses is often outdated and unsafe. Older furnaces should be inspected and replaced annually in order to ensure good function and maximum safety. Additionally, fireplaces should be cleaned yearly and special care should be taken to keep flammable materials, such as curtains, drapes or upholstery, at least 12" away from baseboard and portable heaters.

3) Smoking

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Unattended cigarettes are a leading cause of fire in smoking households. In order to reduce the risk of fire, cigarettes must be extinguished completely and disposed of in large, deep ashtrays (preferably with a material such as sand in the bottom). Additionally, special attention must be paid to smokers who may become drowsy due to medication or age, as these smokers are prone to drop cigarettes on the carpet or ignite couches or drapes.

4) Electrical Appliances

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Although most electrical appliances are relatively safe, problems arise when they have frayed cords or are plugged into overloaded outlets. In order to reduce the risk of fire caused by electrical appliances, homeowners should replace any devices with frayed cords or cords that expose the wires within. Additionally, power strips should be used for multiple plug-ins and homeowners should unplug devices when they leave the home for an extended period of time.

5) Candles

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Although they are beautiful, candles can easily cause a house fire. In order to reduce this risk, candles should always be placed on firm surfaces and contained in wide, deep candle holders that are placed a safe distance from anything flammable. Additionally, children should not be allowed to use candles, and candles should not be left unattended in unused rooms.

Although the possibility of a home fire is a frightening prospect, homeowners can better guard themselves against the possibility of a fire when they know the risks and are aware of the precautions that can be taken to lessen the danger. In addition to practicing safety when it comes to hazards such as cooking and heating equipment, cigarettes, electrical appliances and candles, homeowners can further safeguard their homes by installing high quality smoke alarms.

For those who want added safety, a 24-hour fire alarm monitoring system is a wonderful option. This system will alert the proper authorities when a smoke alarm is activated within the home, ensuring maximum safety even when the home is vacant. Visit our website and contact us to learn more about advanced fire safety options and installation today.

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