The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported that there are more than 360,000 home structure fires each year which adds up to about $6-8 billion dollars in damages each year. The main cause for fires can be started by daily activities that no one thinks about. So to prevent a fire, you could hire guards with fire extinguishers to watch each room 24/7 secret service style, or you can take a look on what can actually start your common fire and how to prevent them in the first place.
- Candles – Candles can bring us a wonderful, romantic atmosphere, but they are still dangerous since you’re dealing with an open flame. NFPA reported that an average of 10,630 fires in the U.S. that were started from candles alone in one year. That is an average of 29 candle fires per day and caused 115 deaths, 903 injuries and approximately $418 million in property damages. They start to begin with because they are left unattended or they are placed closed to objects that are flammable. To prevent an accident, keep lit candles at least 12 inches away from any object that are flammable. Also, do not leave lit candles unattended since a simple bump on the resting object or candle itself can cause the candle to knocked down or your pet cat or dog can walk up to the lit candle and accidently shed their dander on it to ignite a fire.
- Smoking – With an average of 17,600 related fires per year that results in an average of 490 deaths and $516 million in property damage, smoking is a dangerous hobby or activity one can take on. It only takes one hot ash from the object to fall on a flammable object to start a fire. The best way to avoid starting a fire from your hobby is to take the hobby or activity outside. If you decide to smoke inside, please make sure to use a sturdy ash tray for the ashes and to put the butts in. Also avoid smoking while tired so you won’t fall asleep with a lit cigarette and have it fall.
- Electrical – When it comes from overloaded circuit or an overheated light bulb, electrical fires can cause around 47,700 home structure fires a year which equals to about 418 deaths, 1,570 injured victims and around $1.4 billion in property damage. A couple of simple items and daily activities can prevent the fire to begin with. First, make sure you are using the right cord for the right job – indoor cords for indoor use and outdoor cords for outdoor uses. Avoid crowding and overloading electrical cords, and at Christmas time, don’t leave your Christmas lights on when it is unattended. Is it also time for a quick inspection as well? Having a licensed electrician to inspect your home in general can also save you the headache of a fire to start to begin with.
- Children abuse of fire – Children caused around 7,100 home fires per year and approximately $172 million in property damage. It’s mainly younger children who tend to start the fire because they misuse matches and lighting devices that can start the fire. Start teaching your children at a young age how to use matches around you and what a fire can result in. Parents are also advised to hide their matches and any lighting devices and keep them out of reach.
- Cooking – The oven alone can be a fire hazard itself! Cooking fires have contributed up to 40% of all house fires, an average of 156,600 fires per year and resulted in approximately $853 million in property damages. To prevent a kitchen fire, make sure you do not leave food being cooked unattended. If you happen to see a fire forming in the kitchen, know the right way to extinguish it. The best way to get rid of cooking fires is to suffocate the fire from oxygen. For grease fires, smother the fire out by putting a lid on the pan and for fires in the oven, shut the oven off and then close the oven door until the fire dissipates. DO NOT ADD WATER TO THE FIRE as they can make the situation worse.
Keep these tips in the back of your mind will help keep you and your family safe. Remember, the common house fire can add up to property damages, injuries, and the worst: you and your family’s safety and lives. Remember the motto from the boy scouts: always be prepared! Have a smoke detector with working batteries on each level of the home and have a fire extinguisher available that’s always within reach for emergencies just in case a fire happens to start. Isn’t your life and your family lives worth it overall?