House fires are rarely planned, but there are still close to 1.4 million house fires in Americaevery year. No matter how big or small a fire may be, the damage that results from it can be catastrophic. If you want to avoid a fire in your home, you may want to know what the common causes are. That will tell you what to look out for in the long run.
Here are the top 10 causes of house fires.
The kitchen is a source of intense heat in a home, from the stove to the oven and beyond. A simple splatter from a hot pan can lead to a fire under the wrong circumstances. Most fires in the kitchen happen because people get distracted and walk away from their cookware.
To prevent this: Stay in the kitchen while you are cooking, and keep flammable products (like towels and oven mitts) away from hot surfaces at all times.
Cigarettes can easily lead to fires because they are literally burning on one end. Whether you smoke inside or outside, you could be putting your home at risk. This is especially true during the dry months of the year when fires are more likely to erupt.
To prevent this: Avoid smoking in the home, and make sure you dispose of all cigarettes in a deep ash tray. Keep the ash tray away from anything flammable, and never stomp out your cigarette on the grass.
The appliances in your home can ignite a fire if they are not wired properly, or if they are too close to flammable materials. If you have older appliances in your home, it would be wise to replace them to avoid fires.
To prevent this: Watch for loose or frayed wires on the electrical equipment in your home. Avoid draping towels or curtains over plugs, and do not plug in too many appliance to one extension cord.
If a child is old enough to reach a set of matches, a lighter, etc., he’s going to see what it does out of curiosity. You must be careful about leaving your children near a possible cause of fires, and you must keep an eye on them even if they are old enough to play on their own.
To prevent this: Make sure all fire starters are put away in a place your child cannot access. Also be careful about open outlets and electrical equipment in a child’s room.
Fuels, paints, thinners, solvents, and other flammable liquids can easily ignite a fire in your home. This could happen in the heat of the summer or from a simple spark of static electricity, depending on how the chemicals are stored.
To prevent this: Store all flammable liquids in approved containers, and keep them away from heat sources. Ideally, keep them outside in a well-ventilated area.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our top 10 causes of house fires.