The National Fire Protection Association reports that there were 499,000 structure fires in the United States in 2018, unchanged from 2017. Fires can obviously happen anytime of the year, however, they are more common in the fall and winter months, with December and January being the peak months. A fire, whether big or small, is a nightmare no one should ever have to experience. It is important to be aware of the most common causes of fire, and take the appropriate precautions to reduce the risk of a fire happening to you.
Cooking Fires– the most common place for a fire to happen is in the kitchen. Most cases when cooking, the food or cooking tools catch fire, and we quickly lose control. When cooking, make sure to always have someone paying attention. This will greatly reduce the risk of fire.
Christmas Tree Fires- There is nothing better than having a real tree for Christmas. Hanging up all the decorations and stringing the lights. This Kodak moment can easily become a nightmare before Christmas. Before setting up the tree, cut off 1 inch off of the trunk. Then, remove any dead branches that you see. Don’t let your tree go without water. Always keep it hydrated. The worst time for a house fire is for it to happen when we are sleeping. Make sure to disconnect the lights before going to bed.
Smoking– Smoking, especially in bedrooms, should be off limits. If a cigarette is not properly put out, it can cause a flame, and come into contact with flammable materials. Over 70% of fire fatalities start in the bedroom. If you do smoke in your home, make sure to keep ashtrays empty. The more butts in the tray raises the risk of a fire.
Candles- Candles can burst into flames and spread fast if unattended. Keep them away from flammable materials, curtains, book, etc. When purchasing candles, keep them confined in a jar, or dish. An open candle (decoration style) can heat up on the side, causing the deformation, and spreading of wax, ad can result in a fire, or just a plain mess. To overcome this, consider using a candle warmer, and avoid the flame altogether.
Children Playing with Fire– Who can honestly say that they did not play with matches when they were a kid? For the most part, we all got pretty lucky. Others, not so much. To ensure theirs and our safety, make sure all matches and lighters are out of reach of children. Continue to remind them about fire safety, stop drop and roll, know where to find a fire extinguisher, and have an exit strategy. Always make sure your smoke alarms are working properly.
Electrical equipment/faulty wiring/lighting- Homes with inadequate wiring can cause fires from electrical hazards. Here are some signs to pay attention to in your home:
- Fuses blow or trip the circuit frequently.
- Lights dim if you use another appliance;
- For an appliance to work, you have to disconnect another appliance
- You have to use extension cords extensively
If you suspect you have faulty or bad wiring, contact a licensed electrician and have them inspect your home.
Barbeques/Grills- Make sure you clean removable parts with soapy water. Spray the connections with soapy water to check for potential leaks; watch if bubbles form when you open the gas. Keep barbecues away from your home, deck rails, tablecloths and tree limbs.
Portable Heaters– Keep portable heaters at least one meter away from anything that could easily catch fire such as furniture, curtains, clothes, blankets and even yourself. If you have a furnace, get it inspected once a year to make sure it is working to safety standards.
To protect your valuables, documents, jewelry, etc, consider purchasing a fireproof safe to save specific belongings. In some situations, fires are unavoidable. If your home or business has fire or water damage, contact Crew Construction and Restoration. We are here to help. Our certified, trained professionals will work with you from start to finish.