Scary statistic time: every year, there are almost 400,000 house fires in the United States! But we have good news, too. Most fires can be prevented with awareness and a little bit of extra caution. To keep your entire family safe from fire, check these five common household fire hazards.
Cooking ranges. 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. It turns out that 58 percent of kitchen fires are started by cooking ranges, so keep an eye on your food! That way, if a kitchen fire should occur, you’ll be able to put it out quickly.
Electricity. 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. If you do notice a problem with your electricity, 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.
Cigarettes. 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. 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.
Candles. There are over 30 home fires caused by candles in the U.S. each day! To keep your family safe, 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.
Heating systems. 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. When you check your space heater, make sure it’s 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.