Top 10 Fire Hazards in The Home
A fire in the home can be a devastating, shattering, and an unimaginable loss for a family. While some fires are unpredictable, many home fires can be avoidable if proper precautions are taken to keep fires as preventable as possible. Here at Baxter Restoration, we’ve compiled a list of top 10 fire hazards in the home, and tips on how you can avert them.
1. Beware While Cooking
Did you know that cooking is the number one cause of house fires and injuries? You can take precaution by staying alert and not leaving your cooking unattended. If you are sleepy or taking medicine that can make you drowsy, don’t use your stove. When you are cooking, make sure you stay in the kitchen at all times to observe any frying or baking. Oven mitts, aprons, wooden spoons, and even food packaging can all catch fire, so make sure to keep them away from your stove top. It’s a good idea to keep a timer on to remind you when your food is finished.
2. Keep A Watchful Eye on Candles
People tend to use candles more frequently during the holiday season. Candles are a huge fire hazard. Candles should be kept away from children and pets, and always placed on a heat resistant surface. Follow the safety instructions on your candle, and do not burn a candle for longer than what is recommended. Keep candles away from clothing, curtains, or any other combustible material that catch on fire. Always remember to blow out a candle when leaving the room.
3. Smoking Indoors
Almost 1,000 smokers are killed each year in home fires caused by cigarettes or other smoking materials. Cigarettes that are not put out properly can cause a flame. The butt of a cigarette can stay alit for a few hours, making it a fire hazard. You don’t want that to come into contact with a flammable material, such as paper in the waste bin or furniture. If you do smoke, it is wise to do so outside to eliminate the threat of an inside fire. Use a sturdy ashtray and don’t throw your hot cigarette butt on the ground. Never set an ashtray on top of chairs or sofas, as they can catch on fire quickly.
4. Be Careful with Barbecues
When barbecuing, make sure your grill is outside of the home. Your grill should be clear of any plants, tablecloths, or tree branches. It’s important to check the gas bottle for any leaks before each use. A good maintained grill–such as keeping it clean with soapy water and cleaning out the grease trap–will help prevent a fire hazard and lower the risk involved.
5. Lamp Shades and Light Fixtures
Lighting can be a fire hazard when not used correctly. Lightbulbs should not be exposed due to the high temperatures they can reach while on. Keep flammable objects away from lamp shades, and remember to turn off them off when leaving the house.
6. Extension Cords & Loose Outlets
Overloaded power strips are another fire hazard. When you overload an extension cord, it can cause a spark. If something flammable is nearby then a fire is–unfortunately–very likely to happen. If you have faulty wiring in your home, that is another fire hazard that should be attended to sooner rather than later. Lights that dim if you use another appliance, or if fuses trip the circuit frequently, these could be signs of faulty wiring. It’s a good idea to have a professional, licensed electrician inspect your house to stay proactive against fire hazards.
7. Fireplace Safety
When it comes to fireplace safety, it’s imperative to remember how dangerous they are around children. Before you light your hearth, it’s recommended to use smaller pieces of dry and well-aged wood. This burns faster and does not produce as much smoke as larger pieces of wet or green wood. Always remember to clean out the ashes of previous fires, where the levels of ash amount to no more than an inch. An overlooked area of a fireplace tends to be the chimney. You can check for any blockages in the chimney (such as animal nests) that prevent the smoke from escaping your house. It’s also crucial to check the surrounding area of a fireplace for anything flammable that could become a fire hazard.
8. Lint in the Dryer Machine
Make sure you are cleaning the lint trap of your dryer and vent pipe regularly, as most dryer fires commence with a build-up of lint accumulation. Never use a dryer without a filter, and the lint should be cleaned out after every load. Not only does it help prevent a fire, but it helps your laundry dry faster. The air exhaust for the vent pipe should not be restricted. A rigid, metal duct is recommended in lieu of a plastic or foil, accordion duct.
9. Space Heaters
When the temperature of winter drops to a chilling freeze, space heaters tend to be a favorite. If you use a space heater, it’s essential to keep anything that can burn at least three feet away. Please don’t use your oven to heat your household, and remember to turn off portable heaters before you leave a room so it does not become a fire hazard.
10. Faulty Smoke Detectors
It’s important to check that your smoke detectors are in working order. Test smoke alarms monthly. The national fire protection association says:
“Smoke alarms save lives. Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries. If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out.”
Your smoke alarms ideally should be interconnected so that they all sound if one goes off. Your family should have a plan if the smoke detector goes off. If the alarm sounds, everyone at home should go outside and stay outside. It is recommended to replace all smoke alarms in your home every ten years.
In the unlikely event a fire was to happen, Baxter Restoration is here for you. Learn more about fire restoration by visiting us at www.baxterrestoration.com/fire-damage.