Learning About Fire Hazards in Your Home
When thinking about protecting your home from fire, one way to do this is by understanding fire hazards and knowing how to identify them.
Thinking about the possibility of seeing your home damaged by fire is unpleasant, but unfortunately, it’s a harsh reality for many Americans. In this blog, we’ll be discussing two of the most common household fire hazards.
Did you know there were 82 deaths, 800 injuries and $295 million in direct property damage during a five-year period from 2011 to 2015? During that time period, fire departments across the United States answered an estimated 8,700 home structure fires a year that were started by candles.
There were an average of 24 home candle fires reported per day during those five years, with December being the prime time of the year for home candle fires. Candles caused 2 percent of the reported home fires, with 3 percent resulting in death and 7 percent in injuries.
Of all the candle fires during this time span, 37 percent started in the bedroom and were responsible for 36 percent of the associated deaths and 51 percent of the associated injuries.
When using a lit candle, be sure it’s kept at least 12 inches from anything that could catch fire and is in a sturdy holder that won’t easily tip over. If oxygen is being used in a home, never use a candle—and remember to never leave candles unattended. Always blow them out before leaving a room or going to sleep.
While cooking is the No.1 cause of home fires, smoking indoors is the No.1 cause of home fire deaths.
An estimated 17,200 home structure fires were reported in 2014 due to smoking materials like cigarettes, pipes and cigars. According to the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes, those fires resulted in 570 deaths, 1,140 injuries and $426 million in property damage.
Be sure to extinguish all cigarettes and ashes in water or sand prior to throwing them out, and keep in mind that one out of four fatal victims of smoking-material fires is not the smoker—it is the innocent bystander.
If you’re a smoker, it is safest to smoke outside, as most deaths resulted from fires that began in living rooms, family rooms or bedrooms. Fire-safe cigarettes are the best option, and a deep, sturdy ashtray should be used.
While candles and smoking are two of the most common causes of home structure fires, there are also other lesser-known hazards that could be present in your home.
Some types of glassware in your home could actually be a fire risk. When placed in direct sunlight in front of a window, the magnified sunbeam passes through them, and could ignite a flammable object in its path. Therefore, it’s best to move glass accessories away from windows.
Sweeping or vacuuming your floors regularly and cleaning hard-to-reach areas, like behind the entertainment system, can help prevent the buildup of dust bunnies from collecting near electrical sockets and floor heaters.
Also, watch out for loose electrical outlets in your home. The movement of these loose electrical outlets could loosen the wires connected to the outlet and create dangerous arcing.
Fire and smoke damage can be devastating to homes, and in many circumstances, can also be accompanied by water damage from firefighting efforts. If your home is damaged by fire or smoke, SERVPRO® of Van Nuys South is here to help you restore your home to its original pre-fire condition.