In 2011 residential house fires claimed the lives of 3,005 Americans and cost 11.7 Billion dollars in damages. Fires are partially dangerous because they can start small and rage out of control in minutes; burning your house to the ground in a short period of time. Learning common fire hazards can help to prevent residential house fires.
Top 8 House Fire Hazards
- Leaving cooking food unattended. Because we cook with heat, the kitchen is the most likely room in a house to catch fire. Do not walk away from food frying in a pan and be careful to only use microwave safe dishes and keep paper such as cookbooks away from gas flames.
- Worn out or frayed electrical cords. Frayed, exposed, or animal chewed electrical cords are responsible for many house fires. Be sure to repair or replace any damaged cords around your home.
- Overloaded power strips. Overloaded power strips can spark and cause a fire. Use more power strips with less plugs on each strip.
- A malfunctioning electrical appliance. Malfunctioning electrical appliances are a big house fire risk as sparks from faulty toasters, coffee makers, televisions, computer monitors and others can cause serious fires.
- Flammable items near heat sources. Placing flammable items such as lamp shades, books, or plastic near heat sources such as light bulbs, heaters, or radiators are a major house fire risk.
- Leaving candles unattended. Candles cause hundreds of house fires every year. Even with a “safe” candle holder, candles should never be left burning unattended. A pet or child could easily knock over a candle left too low.
- Using a fireplace or wood stove incorrectly. Have an annual inspection of your chimney to ensure that it is clear and clean before starting a fire in the fireplace. Also, be extremely careful to throw away ashes that aren’t 100 percent cooled down. A tiny smoldering coal can start a fire.
- Leaving a lit cigarette unattended. Cigarettes cause many house fires every year. Avoid smoking in bed or leaving a pipe or cigarette unattended. Empty ashtray contents carefully after the ashes are fully cooled.
Fire Safety Systems
Over 80 percent of fire related deaths happen in residential fires in homes without a fire sprinkler system. Installing fire alarms in every room and a sprinkler system are ways to keep your family safe. Pro tip: Change the batteries on your fire alarms every daylight savings to make sure that they are in good working order.
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