House fires are a leading cause of loss of life and property across the US. They are tragic disasters that devastate homes, injure and kill people, cause material losses and other fire-related damages. Most house fires erupt during the colder months of the year. Therefore, it is essential to understand the various reasons for a house fire to avoid it.
Accidental house fires can have various causes, primarily from irresponsible activities, negligence, or technical malfunctions and defects. The most common causes of house fires include lightning strikes, overheated electrical systems, negligent smoking habits, burning candles, and unattended cooking.
Let’s discuss a few steps you can take to prevent house fires.
1. Invest in a smoke detector and surge protector
Smoke detectors are available at department stores across the US. They are even available online at very reasonable prices. Smoke detectors with advanced features like flashing lights are also available, and some can even detect carbon monoxide. So you have many options to choose from and can quickly get them installed.
Smoke detectors detect any smoke in your house and notify you so that you can deal with the source of smoke before it transforms into an uncontrollable house fire. According to the New York state’s health department, functioning smoke detectors reduce the risk of fatal injuries in a house fire by 50%.
Similarly, a surge protector can help prevent house fires. A power surge can overheat electrical wires, causing a fire. Therefore, it is wise to use a surge protector, which helps keep the current under control and prevents it from reaching the device, starting a fire. A surge protector can significantly reduce the risk of a fire.
2. Don’t leave flames unattended.
Don’t leave flames unattended if you are cooking, using any flame/heat, or lighting candles. Scented candles are specially placed around the house during the holidays. Leaving those candles unattended can lead to house fires. Moreover, monitor your cooking, fireplace, and heaters so that you can quickly notice if something’s wrong. It will help you manage the problem right away and prevent a disaster.
Handle open flames carefully with complete awareness of their potential fire risk, and always remember the following rules;
- Always put out open flames before leaving a room.
- Blow out candles before falling asleep.
- Keep open flames and heat sources away from your pets.
- Do not place a candle or a gas heater on an uneven surface to prevent them from tipping over.
- Place heaters, candles, and other sources of heat and flames away from easily flammable materials like blankets, furniture, and more.
3. Remove lint and change filters
House heating systems have filters that help them run properly, but many people ignore the cleanliness of those filters. In addition, these filters need frequent cleaning because they collect lint, and the heat from the furnace can ignite the piled-up lint leading to a fire.
Washing machines and dryers also have filters that collect lint. Ensure regular lint removal from the filter after doing laundry, as even a tiny amount of lint can result in disastrous house fires.
4. Keep a fire extinguisher
Having a fire extinguisher at home can make you feel safe. Fire extinguishers are worth the investment as they can save your life in case of a fire. If you suspect a dangerous fire is starting anywhere in your home, you can quickly control it by correctly using a fire extinguisher.
Keep a fire extinguisher in easily accessible positions, especially in high-risk areas like the kitchen. A good quality fire extinguisher can last about 5 to 15 years. However, regular pressure gauge checks are required to ensure that it will work fine when needed. As a general rule, if the needle falls in the fire extinguisher’s green area, it will work fine.
5. Don’t smoke indoors
Cigarettes are dangerous and contain different materials that are flammable even if you blow them out. These burning materials can ignite in your waste bin or anything you throw them in, leading to a house fire. Moreover, smoking in closed spaces inside your house also increases the chances of a fire.
Therefore, it is better to smoke outdoors or in a well-ventilated area inside the house. You should also put the cigarette entirely out before throwing it away and keep an eye out for stray ashes to avoid fire-related hazards.
The Bottom Line
House fires are tragic events that result in the loss of life and property. Unfortunately, they are a leading cause of death and property loss in the US. However, most house fires can be avoided easily and occur because of irresponsible and negligent behavior towards flames or other heated objects in the house.
Numerous reasons can lead to a house fire, but one of the most common causes includes unattended cooking. You can prevent a house fire by installing surge protectors and smoke detectors. Not leaving flames unattended and not smoking indoors can also reduce the risk of a house fire. Moreover, cleaning lint and changing the heating system and dryer filters in the house can also play a crucial role in preventing a house fire. Lastly, invest in a fire extinguisher. Hopefully, this article will help you understand how to prevent house fires.