Imagine the nightmare of coming home to the sight of fire trucks and milling neighbors looking at what used to be your home, now mostly just charred wood and ash. Even the worst fires are almost all caused by just the smallest accident, and the results can be devastating. Read on to find out five of the most common causes of household fires, and some tips to reduce your risk of coming home to that burned down home.
One of the most common causes of household fires is cooking accidents. Cooking with hot oil can go from pleasant sizzling to a stove top inferno in seconds. Oil and flammable objects in the kitchen are tied for the most common causes of kitchen fires. Reducing your risk of this kind of accident is easy: never leave an active kitchen appliance unattended, and never let anything flammable like towels, rags, or paper towels near anything designed to get hot.
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Fire accidents aren’t limited to fireplaces. It’s important to have any heaters checked by a professional every year, and get your chimney cleaned on a regular basis. A broken radiator can quickly become a disaster if it overheats enough to light curtains, furniture, or clothing on fire. Just in case, keep flammable objects away from radiators, and never place shoes or clothing on a radiator to dry.
One of the most common causes of home fires is smoking accidents, especially accidents caused by falling asleep with a lit cigarette. To avoid this kind of accident, never smoke in the bedroom, and always completely put out cigarettes in the ash tray. If someone is sleepy and smoking, watch them carefully or ask them to put it out, and keep flammable objects away from ashtrays. An improperly extinguished cigarette takes hours to burn itself out, and in that time your ashtray is a time bomb waiting for something flammable to come near.
An electrical appliance that isn’t in good shape can easily be a source of sparks and heat to start an electrical fire. Here’re some important things to keep in mind to prevent electrical fires:
- Frayed or loose plugs and cords can start sparking at any time and need to be repaired.
- Never overload an outlet with too many plugs.
- A wire under a rug or piece of furniture can easily become damaged or start a fire.
- Don’t push extension cords too far.
- If you’re doing your own wiring, make sure you know what you’re doing. Improper electrical installations are a huge source of fires, so if you’re not confident, hire a professional electrician instead.
The most common cause of home fires is unattended fires, for obvious reasons. An open flame in your home is just asking for trouble. Whenever using candles, keep them firmly placed on materials like metal or stone that will not burn if the candle tips over. Never use candles anywhere near flammable objects like curtains or carpets. If you have children or pets, keep the candles too high for them to reach in case they accidentally tip them over. Never leave a candle unattended. If a room with a candle is going to be empty, blow out the candle before you leave.
Christmas is a common time for house fires, so be extra careful. If you’re putting up Christmas lights or hanging lights on a tree, make extra sure that the lights won’t spark, and don’t overuse the lights and allow heat to build up.
80% of home fires are accidents that would have been easy to prevent. Follow these simple common sense tips to make sure that your home is safe from these accidents that could have devastating consequences.