What do cigarettes, extension cords and stovetop popcorn have in common? They’re all fire hazards! Every year, there are almost 400,000 house fires in the United States. The good news is that most fires can be prevented by awareness and a little bit of caution.
Here are five common household fire hazards, and simple tips for removing them.
A home-cooked meal always hits the spot, but an unwatched burner can quickly start a fire. In fact, 58 percent of kitchen fires are started by cooking ranges.
The Solution: Keep an eye on your food! It’s easy to get distracted by phone calls, other chores and the finale of The Voice, but it’s also dangerous. Keeping a fire extinguisher in your kitchen is also really important. That way, if a kitchen fire should occur, you’ll be able to put it out quickly.
The electricity that flows through your home is doubly dangerous: it can shock you and it can start a fire. Two of the most common causes of electrical fires are faulty wiring and overloaded outlets.
The Solution: Don’t play amateur electrician! The cost of hiring a professional electrician for any kind of rewiring or lighting addition is well worth the safety benefit. Also, go easy on your outlets. There should only be one plug per receptacle, not three extension cords daisy-chained together. For more electrical safety tips, read: Electrical Safety Audit.
Fires caused by still-burning cigarette butts are the leading cause of home-fire fatalities, killing about 1,000 people a year. Tragedy generally strikes when a smoker forgets about a cigarette, and it winds up catching a cushion or bedspread on fire.
The Solution: Avoid smoking inside and always dispose of your cigarettes in a designated ash tray rather than a trash can or other area that may catch on fire.
A few candles can set the mood at dinner or relax you during bath time, but that open flame can cause some serious trouble, too! In fact, there are over 30 home fires caused by candles in the U.S. each day.
The Solution: Put your candles in a sturdy holder, place them on a flat surface and keep them away from flammable objects. If you light a candle, don’t leave that room without blowing it out! Note: If you have kids or agile pets in the house, it may be best to switch to electric candles.
During the winter, accidents related to heating systems are the number one cause of house fires, but they can cause trouble all year long. Space heaters are especially dangerous because it’s easy to leave them on near drapes or curtains and then forget about them.
The Solution: Place your space heater on a nonflammable surface (like tile) and keep it at least three feet away from bedding, curtains, furniture and feet. For more space heater dos and don’ts, read: Space Heaters: Stay Cozy, Stay Safe.