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 prevent them:
- Cooking – 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 stovetop when cooking and keep the kitchen surfaces free from grease to prevent fires.
- 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.
- Electrical Causes – Outdated wiring and breaker boxes, as well as old appliances, present a fire threat.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. Make sure everything is properly and safely plugged into the outlets and don’t have too many things plugged in at the same time.
- Candles – Candles are another huge cause of house fires. 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.
- Smoking – 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Leaving the Straightener/Curling Iron on – It is very easy to rush out of the house and forget to turn off your hair straightener, curling iron, or any other styling tool. However, it is imperative to make sure that these items get turned off before you leave the house, or even just the room. Get in the habit of completely unplugging your styling tool instead of just pressing the off button. If you are frequently forgetting to turn these things off, you can purchase tools with a built-in timer that will automatically shut it off after a certain period of time.
To help prevent fires in your home, install smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, as well as a fire sprinkler system, and always keep a lookout for potential fire starters.