Keeping Homes Safe From Fire
With all the data and statistics that we have gathered, we were able to create a list of the most common causes of house fires. Together with this, we also formulated tips and tricks that you can try to avoid having house fires in your home to protect your assets and everything valuable inside your home.
On top of our list of most common causes of a house fire is:
Faulty Wiring and Worn Out Sockets
- One of the many things that you should consider when building a house or buying one would be the electric wirings. Homeowners should always make sure that the sockets are properly grounded and the wirings are not torn or overused. It would be very much helpful in the future if homeowners would replace these wirings and sockets if they see any sign of fraying on them. After replacing these wirings and outlets, it should always be a part of your routine as inspection and maintenance to keep your wirings clean and updated. Aside from the wirings and sockets, cable cords for your devices or appliances should also be something that you need to look at. Any bent or damaged plugs or pins on these cables should be fixed or best – replaced to avoid any further damage in your home. Especially if you have pets in your home that could possibly chew on your wirings – but there are also rodents or even unprofessional handymen that could cause faulty wirings. If you notice that your wirings and power outlets are faulty and worn out, call out to a professional immediately.
- Be mindful of where you place your carpets and rugs. In the event that a wiring problem or power outlet problem happens, carpets and rugs can be a major factor in easily spreading the fire.
- Do not overuse your extension cords. Using multiple extension cords and overloading them could cause a house fire. It would not hurt to know or learn about your house’s and gadgets’ electrical system. Again, you can always turn to a professional if you need help with anything.
- Take time to learn about surge protectors and power strips. These surge protectors are also called surge suppressors and it would be very helpful if you have either this or power strips in your home to protect your assets and house itself from house fires. Knowing the difference between these two would help you choose which one would be more useful depending on your lifestyle. Both are cheap when you are looking for a budget; the main difference would be their usage. If you plan on getting a sort of extension of your wall outlet with an on and off switch – a power strip would be the one for you. Just note that power strips do not offer that much electrical protection, it is just as good as using a wall outlet, it’s just that this one’s not literally on a wall. If you opt to have more protection against power spikes, you should get a surge protector or surge suppressor. Again, price-wise it is also relatively cheap, though costs a little bit more than a power strip, but offers more protection. When getting a surge suppressor, make sure to note and pay attention to its warranty. It is better to get a surge suppressor with a lifetime warranty because this would only mean that your surge protector will likely work as a circuit breaker, also to tell it apart from a power strip always look at how well each of it is rated; surge protectors are rated in Joules, and the more Joules that a surge protector has, the better – because this only means that your surge protector different impacts of surges. And this could help you cut off power in a surge and will not wear out as time goes by. It all depends on you, but getting either one of these will not only protect your home from a house fire but also protect your gadgets and gadgets’ batteries.
Carelessness in the Kitchen May Also Lead to House Fire
- Do not leave cooking equipment unattended on top of your stove. Regardless of the setting of your stove and what is in your cooking pieces of equipment, it is not advisable to leave anything on top of your stove. Not only could this equipment be toasted and burnt on top of your stove, but your stove could also melt your equipment and damage it for good. Do not also forget what you are cooking inside of your pot or pans, it could also be burnt down together with your kitchen or your whole house.
- Always be ready with a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and study how to use it in case of emergencies. This is one of the first things that you should learn when owning a house, aside from preventing accidents from happening, it also would not hurt to learn how to minimize the damage in case something bad happens. Fire extinguishers usually come with manuals and have stickers on them on a quick how-to-use fire extinguisher. This would be very helpful in scenarios wherein someone else is calling the fire department and you try to minimize or put out a fire in a certain area in your home – like your kitchen where a lot of fire is going on since that is where you cook.
- Make it a habit to clean your stove and oven. Not only does cleaning your kitchen and the things you use in there make it safe to eat and sanitary, getting rid of any food residue, food splatter, and grease can lower your chances of igniting it when you cook again or turn on your stove or oven for cooking. This could help you minimize the other cause of fire in your kitchen, too. Not only food residues but you should also keep an eye on other things near your stove or oven like your potholders, drapes, food packagings, and other things – it would be better to clear things off your stove and oven.
- Aside from the things around your kitchen, it is also important to protect yourself from fire. If you can, try to wear short-sleeved tops or avoid anything loose to prevent it from getting caught up in whatever you are cooking. In this way, you could cook with ease without worrying that your clothes or accessories might dip into the sauce or oil, or even worse get caught up in your stove’s fire.
- Child-proof your kitchen. As we all know, children can be so curious that they would start to turn knobs for water or whatever there is that they see. It would be dangerous if they can reach hazardous kitchen equipment. As much as possible, try to child-proof your kitchen. How? See the next bullet.
- The Internet is your friend. Almost everything can be found on the Internet and it would not take too much of your time to browse the Internet and search for more ways to prevent cooking house fires. Again, it would also be more helpful if you also search not just how to prevent it but also what to do when something happens so you could minimize the fire or prevent it from spreading even further inside your house.
Another Common Source of House Fires Are Clothes Dryers
- Always remember that dryer vents are a fire hazard. It is already statistically proven that almost 20,000 cases of house fire are caused by dryer vents per year. These types of house fires not only damage homes but also cause injuries and even deaths to the people inside the house or even their neighbors. To be sure that your dryer vent is properly installed, always follow the manual provided by the manufacturer regarding installation instructions and as much as possible, use the recommended core materials as this only means that it is the best materials to use to fully optimize your dryer and make the most out of it. In the event that you hesitate or you are not confident that you could follow the installation instructions by the book or you just want to make sure that nothing will go wrong, hiring a professional would be the best choice.
- Most of these house fires that are caused by dryer vents are because the dryer vents themselves are not functioning properly already. As tackled in the first bullet, this could be because of the faulty installation. But another factor that you could look into is that homeowners may have been neglecting to clean their own dryer vents, making the vent itself faulty or not functioning properly. In such circumstances that you notice something odd or wrong with your dryer vent, try cleaning it first or hire a professional to clean it, and at the same time, they could look into it for maintenance. Some common signs that your dryer vent needs cleaning is if there is an unpleasant smell coming out of it or your clothes after washing, too much lint on the lint trap, too much heat on the area where the dryer vent is or the clothes are too hot to touch coming out of the dryer vent.
- Speaking of lint traps, aside from the dryer vent make sure to also clean out the lint trap itself. It could clog up too much dirt and this build-up could get caught up in the heating elements or parts of the dryer vent that passes out exhaust – causing bigger fire accidents.
- After clearing up the lint trap, make sure to clean out the areas near it too. There would always be parts of your dryer vent that would heat up while operating or as time goes by, make sure that nothing will get caught up in it to prevent house fires. Clearing out rags, articles of clothing, or anything flammable is one step in protecting your dryer vent and your home from house fires.
Alternative Heating Sources May Also Cause House Fires
- As much as possible, use up-to-date space heaters. There are specific space heaters nowadays that have more features and have more suitable safety measures than the old ones. It would be better to purchase, if not the latest, something newer as this could be added protection to your home and added value to your house. Always look at the safety standards of the space heater that you are going to purchase and make sure to pay attention to the safety measures that come with it.
- After buying the space heater, plan where you are going to place it. It is not advisable to place it just elsewhere. Make sure that it is not near anything that could ignite easily such as curtains, beddings, types of furniture, paper, or flammable liquids. Even just a small spark from a space heater and another object could cause a much bigger fire, so it would be wise to place it somewhere safe and away from anything flammable. This could even get worse if that “something” is nearly placed somewhere that could spread the fire easily when it reaches it.
- Wood Stove and pellet stove are good alternative heating sources but similarly to space heaters, it would also be best to have a professional install them for you. Do your research on what type of wood stove or pellet stove you are going to get and also take note if it is nationally approved and recognized by any testing laboratory. And again, make sure to place it somewhere far from curtains or furniture that could be caught up in a fire or are easily ignitable. Also, make sure to clean it regularly to avoid any build-up or clogs that could later cause heat up or even fire accidents in the future. Always read the safety measures like what type of wood is recommended, what liquids are best to use. These are all for your safety and are recommended to avoid house fires.
- These wood or pellet stoves should always come with proof that it is authorized, recognized, and approved by your state or municipality laws. In this way, you are sure that it has already been tested and proven that nothing is defective and is safe to use. There are ordinances and regulations that you could search for on the Internet regarding wood heaters and pellet stoves.
- Not only do dirty chimneys are a threat to your health, but they could also cause fire accidents in your home. To be prepared for seasons that you would not be using the chimney, it is advisable to hire professionals to have it cleaned and inspected in case there would be fixing needed. It is best to do it on seasons before you will not be using it because during these seasons dirt might build upon it and could catch up on something flammable and could cause house fires. As also a part of your home inspection, make sure to have the Chimney Safety Institute of America – certified chimney sweep take a look at it annually. Make it a part of your routine to check on your chimneys too. There is combustible build-up every time you use the fireplace and there are proper ways to dispose of these build-ups to prevent fire and health risks in the area.
- The Chimney Safety Institute of America also has online how-tos and other safety reminders and tips for people. As a part of their safety measure, it is advised that homeowners use seasoned wood only for the fireplace. It is not good to burn green or damp wood, but seasoned wood only. As scientifically explained by the Chimney Safety of America, wood naturally has water, and depending on the percentage of water that it has is its ability to produce heat and moisture content. As seasoned wood has the right percentage of moisture and water, it is said to have cleaner burns and could produce more heat than other types of wood. The tip that Chimney Safety Institute of America reminded homeowners is that the water in the wood should dry up sooner than the wood could burn.
- The homeowners storing their (seasoned) wood could also affect their chimney maintenance and as always, the Chimney Safety Institute of America has provided us with information on how to properly store wood. It is advised that the seasoned wood is prepared six months before using it and be stored properly wherein the sun could do its job and dry up the wood before using it in the fireplace. This has something to do with the energy processes used that we leave up to the experts at Chimney Safety Institute of America but this is an effective way of using seasoned wood and producing heat in the time you need it. There are also specific cuts or chunks of wood that the Institute has specified would be effective to use in the fireplace, these cuts of wood would allow the moisture and water to travel through the wood that will be dried up by the sun and be ready for use after half a year.
- Do not use cardboard boxes, wrapping paper, trees, or other trash in the fireplace. Contrary to what we see in the movies, throwing in trash and paper in the fireplace is not actually safe. These could fly up to the chimney and create chimney sparks and cause house fires. If you see black smoke coming out of the chimney, this is a clear indication that there is a chimney fire. In case that this happens, it is advised to close the inlet controls of the fireplace or the dampers. This will minimize the air that goes in the chimney minimizing the intensity of the fire.
These are the common causes of house fires and how to prevent them. But what would you do in case you were not able to prevent it? The aforementioned use of fire extinguishers is one of the first things that homeowners should do when there is a house fire.
If your home has a fire alarm, never ignore it and do not hesitate to get the fire extinguisher and help put out the fire or at least minimize it. Always make sure that the batteries for your alarms are functioning and that your alarms have no defects at all.
What to do in case of fire
In case you are in a house fire and your alarms are faulty, you could always scream for help and your neighbors could hear it. It would alarm them and they would call the fire department to help you and prevent the spread of the fire through your neighborhood. And if you have your phone with you, call 911.
Always think of yourself first and your loved ones, your assets could be insured and some things in your house could be replaced, but you only have one life and you need to save it.
Rush out of the house when there is a house fire, find the nearest exit and bring the valuables that you see along the way but do not go out of your way to save them, also use a damp cloth or handkerchief to cover your nose, this way you will not be suffocated with all the smoke from the burning house and once you got out of one room, if you can, try to close the door behind you.
It is research-proven that closing the doors “traps” the fire and helps prevent it from spreading even further. If your clothes or yourself catch fire, always remember the “Stop, Drop, and Roll” instruction during fire drills. Avoid spreading the fire, even more, crawl and stay low until you get out of the house. Never go back once you are out of the house.
If you need to save something inside, it would be best to call the fire department and tell them to save what you intended to save especially if there is a person left behind inside the burning house.
It is best to protect your home from fire accidents and install protections for your home. Feel free to get in touch with us, just visit our website.