The year 2015 saw more than 1.3 million house fires and $14.3 billion of related damage in the U.S. alone. Fires not only cause major damage and loss of physical assets, but they can also cause injuries and even claim lives. To help you avoid a future blaze in your own home, we’ve put together a list of the top seven causes of house fires and the ways you can prevent them.
The biggest percentage of house fires start in the kitchen, often due to grease fires or food that is left cooking unattended. It is important to remain in the room at all times when grilling, frying, or boiling, and to set a timer when using the oven. Remove flammable materials like kitchen towels from the immediate vicinity, and keep a lid close by to smother a grease fire should it occur. (Never use a fire extinguisher or put water on a grease fire, as it could worsen it.)
Grilling may be a fun pastime, but it can also be dangerous. Whether you use propane or charcoal, be sure your grill is set away from your home’s eves, deck railing, and any tree limbs that may be overhanging. Next, make sure to start with a clean surface, as old grease and buildup could become a fire hazard. Finally, remain attentive to the grill at all times, never leaving a flame unattended.
Flameless candles may be the safer option, but many homeowners and renters still burn traditional candles in their homes. If you are one of them, be sure to place the candle away from the reach of kids and pets. Also, clear away any flammable materials or combustible liquids that could catch fire. Note that the most candle-related fires start in the bedroom – often because the owner has fallen asleep with it burning.
Dirty Dryer Vents
Dryer screens, vents, and hoses can accumulate lint, preventing proper airflow and creating a potential fire hazard. It’s important not only to remove lint from the dryer screen with every load but also to check vent ducts – particularly accordion style ducts – that can harbor lint in sagging low points in the hose. You can avoid duct buildup by replacing accordion hoses with metal ducts that do not sag.
Frayed wires, loose-fitting outlets, improper grounding, bulbs with improper wattage, and overloaded circuits can all lead to house fires. To prevent an electrical blaze, check cords before plugging them in, and never force a plug or remove its third prong to make it fit. Make sure your outlets contain arc-fault circuit interrupters, as well as ground fault circuit interrupters (GCIs) in wet areas. Check to ensure your bulb wattage is appropriate for its fixture, and avoid overloading your outlets with extension cords and surge protectors, when possible.
If you use space heaters in your home, they could pose a major fire threat. You can reduce your risks by placing heaters on a flat surface where they are less likely to tip over. Always follow manufacturer instructions, which often recommend placement at least three feet from combustible items and furniture.
Did you know stain-soaked rags can spontaneously combust without be subjected to heat? Whenever working with solvents and other flammable chemicals, follow instructions for proper disposal – especially when using them in combination with combustible materials like rags and drop cloths. Storing these items in an air-tight, metal container may prevent fire.
If Your Home Catches Fire
It’s a good idea to keep fire extinguishers in your home, as this could help stop a very small blaze from becoming a whole-house inferno. However, you should never attempt to fight a fire if it is unsafe to do so. Instead, remove everyone from the home and call 9-1-1 right away. You should also contact our office as soon as possible to find out how to begin processing your claim for the damages and compensation for your temporary housing costs.
If you do not currently have fire protection for your home and belongings through Mayville Insurance, we can help you get the coverage you need. Call us today to request your free quote. We look forward to serving you soon.