Fire is a major hazard in any residential setting. According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were more than 350,000 fires in homes in 2020. Itresulted in over 2,500 deaths and more than 11,500 injuries. The financial cost of these fires is also significant, with property losses totaling more than $8 billion in the said year alone.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most common causes of residential fires and offer some tips on how to prevent them.
Common Causes of Residential Fires
There are many potential causes of residential fires, but some are more common than others. The most frequent causes of home fires include:
- Cooking equipment– This is the leading cause of home fires, accounting for nearly 50% of all incidents. Most cooking-related fires are started by unattended cooking, so it’s important to always stay in the kitchen when you’re using any type of cooking appliance.
- Heating equipment– Home heating equipment is responsible for around 15% of all home fires. The most common type of heating-related fire is caused by a faulty or improperly used space heater. When using a space heater, be sure to keep it away from any flammable materials and never leave it unattended.
- Smoking materials– Smoking-related fires are among the top causes of residential fires. The best way to prevent smoking-related fires is to always use a deep, sturdy ashtray and never smoke in bed.
- Electrical equipment– Electrical equipment is another common cause of home fires. The most common type of electrical fire is caused by faulty or overloaded outlets and extension cords. To prevent electrical fires, be sure to only use outlets and cords that are in good condition and rated for the amount of electricity you’re using. It is better to leave the electrical wiring in your home to a professional.
- Flammable liquids-Another common cause of fire is flammable liquids. These fires are often started by careless use or storage of flammable liquids, so it’s important to always handle and store them safely.
- Other causes– There are many other potential causes of home fires, including candles, fireworks, and faulty appliances.
Tips for Preventing Residential Fires
Fires can be prevented by taking some simple precautions. Some tips for preventing home fires include:
- Installing smoke alarms– Smoke alarms are an essential part of any fire safety plan. Be sure to install smoke alarms on every level of your home and outside all sleeping areas. Test your smoke alarms monthly and replace the batteries at least once a year.
- Practicing fire safety– Everyone in your family should know what to do in case of a fire. Develop a fire escape plan and practice it regularly. This will help everyone know what to do in an emergency.
- Keeping flammable materials away from heat sources– Flammable materials, such as paper and gasoline, should be kept away from heat sources, such as stoves and space heaters. If you have children, be sure to keep these materials out of their reach.
- Using electrical equipment safely– Be careful when using electrical equipment and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Do not overload outlets or extension cords, and be sure to unplug appliances when they’re not in use.
- Handling flammable liquids carefully– Be very careful when using or storing flammable liquids, such as gasoline and cleaning products. Store them in safe, well-ventilated areas, and be sure to use them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Not smoking indoors– Smoking is one of the leading causes of home fires. If you smoke, do so outdoors and away from flammable materials. Be sure to use a deep, sturdy ashtray and never smoke in bed.
- Keeping matches and lighters out of reach– Keep lighters and matches out of reach if you have small children. Store them in a safe place where they cannot get to them.
- Supervising children– Never leave small children alone in the house. They should always be supervised by an adult.
- Being prepared– The best way to prevent a fire is to be prepared. Have a fire escape plan and be sure everyone in your family knows what to do. Keep a fire extinguisher in an easily accessible location, and know how to use it.
Do you have any other tips for preventing home fires? Share them in the comments below!