Common Causes of House Fires
House fires are devastating and often tragic to human and pet life, in addition to causing smoke and water damage to property. But house fires are traditionally caused by just a few very common scenarios, which means they are highly preventable. Make sure you and your family stay safe from the potential dangers of a house fire.
In 2016, fire departments responded to a house fire every 90 seconds. Here are some of the leading causes of home fires:
- Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries. It is the second leading cause of home fire deaths. Unattended cooking is the primary cause of such fires and frying poses the greatest risk of fire.
- Smoking is the leading cause of home fire deaths and has been for decades. Smoking materials account for the fifth largest cause of house fires overall.
Always take extra precautions against these common causes of house fires to keep your home and family safe from harm:
- Kitchen fires are most often started by grease from frying. When a pot or pan overheats and splatters grease, it can take virtually just seconds for a fire to erupt. Make sure combustible materials such as oven mitts, dish towels, and paper towels are not located near the stove or oven, where they can easily catch fire. Always have an operating fire extinguisher in the kitchen so you can effectively douse any flames before they get out of control. Never leave food cooking on a stove unattended.
- Candles should never be left unattended. They should be kept in sturdy, heat-safe holders on a stable surface. They should be kept away from children, pets and any flammable materials like curtains, furniture, and carpeting. Also, they should not be located near an open window because a breeze could tip them over.
- Electrical fires occur mostly during winter months and typical are caused by home-heating equipment or faulty electrical wiring in a home, particularly out-of-date systems. Make sure your heating equipment is clear of any combustible materials and in good working order. If you live in an older home, check with an electrician to make sure your system is up to code and the load demand is not too intense. Discard any frayed or old cords. Be particularly careful with space heaters and never leave them unattended while in operation.
- Children are curious and can cause a fire by playing with matches or lighters. Make sure these items are safely stored well out of their reach. Only buy child-resistant lighters.
- Smoking cigarettes is the leading cause of house fire fatalities. If you smoke inside your home, use a large and deep tray that is cleaned daily. A smoking cigarette butt can be left smoldering for hours before igniting a fire. Never smoke in bed or when tired and never leave a lit cigarette unattended.
Fire Prevention Week
The devastating Great Chicago Fire of 1911, that caused 250 deaths, led to the creation of the annual Fire Prevention Week from October 3rd to 9th. Sponsored by the National Fire Prevention Association, this week helps to raise awareness of fire safety and prevention. Take some time to brush up on your fire education during the month of October.
If Your Home is on fire, families should have an emergency plan in place, with all members on board, with a planned escape route. If there is an active fire in your home that has not been immediately controlled, everyone should exit the home immediately. Call 911 once you are clear of the structure. Under no circumstances should you re-enter a burning home. Wait for emergency personnel to arrive and allow them to do what they are trained to do.
SERVPRO of Vigo County is a locally-owned and -operated leader in restoration and cleaning needs, so we are part of this community, too. We have the training, equipment, and expertise to handle your restoration and cleaning needs following disasters and accidents that occur in your home and business. We offer 24-hour emergency service and are faster to any disaster. Call us at (812) 242-9611 when you need help getting your property back in order and looking its best. We are part of SERVPRO, a trusted leader in the restoration industry with over 1,700 franchises in the United States and Canada.