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Each year, there are over 2,950 deaths resulting from structural fires in the US. These are fires that occur in either the home or in commercial buildings. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in 2016, the amount of property damage for homeowners and apartment dwellers exceeded $7 billion.
These numbers should not be taken lightly.
Protecting your home and family doesn’t only mean that you are worrying about pesky critters and bugs. House fires are one of the main causes of damage and injuries. More often than not, these are accidents that can be easily prevented. By taking a few small steps to protect your home, you can greatly reduce the risk of a fire destroying your home and endangering your family. Here are a few simple ways that you can keep them both safe from fire damage.
Every 90 seconds in the US, a house fire is reported. While most of these fires are accidental, they often result in thousands of dollars in damages and repairs. Injuries resulting from burns and smoke inhalation also place a financial burden on many families who try to rebuild their lives after such a horrible event. While there are several ways that fires can start in your home, these are some of the most common.
While candles are lovely to look at and bring a certain warm glow to the room, they can also create a dangerous and deadly fire in your house or apartment. In a matter of minutes, an unattended candle can catch paper or fabric on fire. Before you know it, a small fire can quickly become a large inferno, spreading throughout the rest of the house. To reduce the chances of this happening, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Keep Candles on a Level Surface – There are several candle holders available that allow candles to have a wide berth of space around it. You can greatly reduce the chances of candles falling over by keeping them on a level, fire resistant surface.
Blow Out Candles – This might seem like common sense, but leaving the room or dozing off with a lit candle leaves room for accidents to occur. Blowing out the candles that you no longer need will stop a dangerous fire from occurring before it even begins.
Keep Out of Reach of Children – Little hands and curious minds do not mix well with open flames. You want to keep children away from any potential fire dangers, which includes candles, lighters, and matches. Educating your children about fire safety can ensure that they have a healthy respect for this powerful force.
Devices with frayed wires and cords that are past their prime need to be replaced. It might be tempting to use every single outlet in your home. However, if you place high-wattage devices or plug in multiple extension cords into one outlet you greatly increase the chances of overloading it. When this occurs, the outlet could begin to spark or blow out your device entirely. If this should happen, then you need to contact an electrician immediately to repair the damaged outlet. Putting off this small repair can open the door to a dangerous fire hazard in the future.
Unattended cooking is one of the most common ways for fires to occur in the kitchen. Placing metal objects in the microwave or cooking at high temperatures are all actions that can cause a fire. Using hot oil to cook can lead to a grease fire, which can quickly get out of control. With that in mind, make sure that you are always cooking at a lower temperature and keep all flammable objects away from open heat sources.
When it comes to grilling, many people may think of this as a benign cooking method. However, there are several things to keep in mind as you fire up the grill during summer. For propane grills, they need to be checked at least once a year. If you notice any leaking from the tank, it needs to be replaced immediately. When cooking, you always want to make sure that you are watching over the grill. While it might seem like a good idea to bring the grill indoors because of bad weather—don’t. You always want to keep the grill outside since you are cooking at an extremely high temperature.
Aside from common sense prevention, smoke detectors are one of the main safeguards to save your family in the event of a fire. The NFPA reported in 2015, that three out of every five deaths in house fires occurred because there was no smoke alarm. When fires did occur in the home where a smoke alarm was present, almost half of them did not have batteries. Periodically testing the batteries in all of your smoke alarms is a small step in helping to save the lives of those most important to you.
Should a fire occur in your home, having a functional fire extinguisher will keep it from getting out of control. You should keep at least one extinguisher on each floor of your home. At the very least, there needs to be one in the kitchen. These should be checked at least once a year to ensure that the fire extinguisher is functioning properly.
Sitting down with your family to go over the emergency exit plan will keep everyone from panicking in the middle of a crisis. This plan needs to include at least two methods of escaping each room in the house. You’ll also need to decide on a place outside of the home where everyone can meet.
Preventing a fire from occurring in your home doesn’t require spending a lot of money. What it does require is educating yourself and your family about common sense actions that you can take to prevent a fire from happening. Not only that but how you can save lives in the event of a catastrophe.