A data by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released in November 2020 says that 27% of reported fires between 2014 to 2018 occurred in homes. The worst part is that an estimated average of 353,100 home fires was recorded during this period, resulting in 2,620 civilian deaths, 11,030 civilian injuries, and about $7.2 billion in property damage.
While having a proper insurance policy helps mitigate financial losses resulting from a house fire, it is always best to prevent the situations that lead to fires. But before that, you have to know where and when fires are most likely to ignite.
Places at Home Where Fires Originate
Whether it’s large or small, your kitchen is the heart of your house, where you cook meals for the family, friends, and people you care about that visit your home. Are you familiar with what others say that life may be created in the bedroom but is lived in the kitchen?
This may be true, but sadly, it is also the most common spot for fires to start. According to the NFPA, unattended cooking is the leading cause of fire-related injuries and kitchen fires. Thankfully, these man-made fires are also preventable with the following tips:
- Never leave when working with high heat during preparations such as boiling, frying, or broiling.
- Keep an eye on your oven and stove.
- Move combustible items away from your oven.
- Turn off the stove and all cooking appliances after cooking.
- Never heat your home with your oven.
Your fireplace in the living room can be the culprit when it comes to home fires. Being the second leading cause of fires, heating equipment like chimneys, wood-burning stoves, and space heaters can start an out-of-control fire in your living room. To avoid a disaster, practice safety precautions, including:
- Keeping combustibles, such as draperies and upholstered furniture, at least three feet away from a heat source.
- Never leave the fire unattended and ensure that it’s completely out before leaving the house.
- Invest in a fireplace screen to stop embers from escaping.
You may not know this, but your bedroom is the most common spot in your house where electrical fires start. In fact, approximately 15% of home electrical fires start here, plus the possibility of fatality is high since they occur when people are asleep. Bedroom fires are often due to overtaxed or faulty wiring or malfunctioning lighting, space heaters, cords, or electric blankets. On the other hand, the first items to be burned are carpeting, bedding, draperies, and curtains.
Like any other parts of your house, it’s important to replace chargers, extension cords, lighting cords, and other power cords as soon as you notice signs of wear. If you can see the wires, you need to replace them right away..
Attics and Crawl Spaces
Since they’re inaccessible, attics and crawl spaces are usually neglected. As a result, electrical fires can start here due to electrical failure or malfunction. If you live in an older house, suspect that there’s something wrong with the electrical work, or simply want to reassure that everything is okay, it’s always a good idea to call a licensed electrician to address these issues before they even cause a tragedy.
Your grill, fire pit, smoker, and even dry vegetation can also cause an outdoor fire, which can damage your home. You may avoid this by using grills or smokers at least ten feet away from structures like deck railing, vehicles, trailers, or any combustible materials. Also, always clean your grill or smoker every after use to avoid fuel buildup.
Did you know that your dryers can also cause a fire? Usually, this is due to mechanical and electrical failure, dirty lint filters and vents, and improper use.
To avoid laundry room fires caused by dryers, follow these simple steps:
- Clean the lint screen every time you’re done using it.
- Ensure that it is properly installed.
- Clean the vent and duct.
- Replace ducts if necessary
- Use the dryer correctly.
- Have your dryer inspected regularly.
What to Do In Case of Home Fire
First of all, know how to operate a fire extinguisher safely. Always get out, stay out, and call 911 or your local emergency phone number. If heat, flames, or smoke block your exit routes, stay in a room with closed doors. Keep in mind to place a wet towel under the door if you can while calling the fire department. Open a window and wave a brightly-colored cloth or flashlight to signal for help.
Unfortunately, the problems caused by fires don’t end even when the flames go out. The soot and smoke left behind remind you of the disaster that took place. Aside from exposure to residues that can be hazardous to your health, you need to clean up and restore what’s left, which you cannot do alone. Instead, read more about this here.