10 Tips to Prevent House Fires

A house fire is one of the most feared catastrophes that can befall a family. Home fires are fatal to people and destroy precious belongings every year. However, there are some preventative measures you can take that will help reduce the risks of a fire in your home.

It’s impossible to know when a house fire will occur, though the risks are greater during the colder months. The Red Cross cautions that the number of home fires increases in the fall and winter, with more in December and January than in other months. House fires occur more often on the weekends and are most common in the early evening hours between 6 pm and 7 pm.

1. Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms are designed as an early warning system in the event of a house fire. The batteries in the smoke alarms throughout your home should be tested monthly and replaced at least once a year. Setting up calendar reminders to check and replace the batteries will help keep your smoke alarms in working order when you need them most.

2. Heating Sources

Regular cleaning and maintenance of your home’s heating sources is an essential preventative measure to guard against house fires. If the heating system in your home is not operating properly, it can provide ideal conditions to start a house fire. Filters and ductwork collect dirt and dust that can easily spark a flame.

Portable space heaters can also present dangers during the winter months and cause more house fires every year than central heating. Any room using a space heater should be properly ventilated. The units should be kept at least three feet from furniture, drapes, and other combustible materials. Models with an automatic shut-off feature will help to prevent overheating when left on too long.

3. Cooking Area

It takes little time for a small stovetop flame to spread into a dangerous fire that can envelop your kitchen and spread to the rest of the house. Never leave your stove or oven left unattended while in use. Thorough cleaning of the cooking area will remove food particles from the burner that can catch on fire when heated.

Dish towels, oven mitts, cookbooks, food packing materials, and even low-hanging curtains can easily catch fire if left on or near open flames or extreme heat.

Outdoor grills and fire pits pose additional dangers. Grills need to be placed far enough from the house and away from trees, bushes, deck railings, and other areas that can catch fire from an errant spark or excessive heat.

4. Check Your Clothes Dryer

Clothes dryers are large appliances that generate a lot of heat. Regular inspection and maintenance calls will help to keep the dryer working in the most efficient and safest condition. The lint trap needs to be cleaned out before each use.

Depending on how your dryer system is set up, make sure to clean out the ductwork and filters that hold in dirt, dust, and fabric at least a few times per year. Collected dust can get dry and brittle, making it highly combustible.

5. Cord Maintenance

We are more connected to multiple devices needing power than ever before. Most modern homes have an elaborate system of power strips and extension cords that hold the cables for phones, tablets, computers, and other products of the digital age. Power strips with power surge protectors will help to reduce the risks of overloading your power supplies.

Frayed cords and cables on your home’s other appliances also pose a fire danger if left unattended. Replace faulty or frayed wires and keep all wires and cords away from furniture and other potentially combustible materials.

6. Safely Store Flammables

Any flammable liquids should be safely stored outside and in their original containers. Remember to empty the lawnmower of its fuel at the end of the season and safely dispose of it.

There are also a number of household items inside the home that need extra care and attention. Common products like hairspray and shaving cream can be combustible if exposed to an excessive heat source. Keep them stored away from space heaters in a cool, dry space.

7. Candle Caution

The winter months are ideal for lighting a candle to create a mood and give off a pleasant scent. Candles are, however, open flames, and even a brief or momentary lapse of attention can have catastrophic consequences. Keep them away from flammable materials like blankets, scarves, and other flammable materials.

Never leave candles unattended by leaving the room or going to sleep when they are still burning. If you feel yourself drifting off with lit candles in the room, forcing yourself out of your comfortable position to blow them out before falling asleep is well worth the hassle to prevent a house fire that could destroy your life and/or your belongings.

8. Fireplace Safety

There is nothing quite like curling up in front of a fireplace in the middle of winter. To maintain safety while enjoying warmth and comfort, make sure there is a spark screen or glass protection to prevent errant sparks from getting out and causing damage. Never leave a fire unattended. Chimneys should be inspected and cleaned periodically, depending on how often it is used.

9. Fire Extinguishers

A working fire extinguisher is your best chance at containing a fire in your home before it causes serious damage. Make sure there is one in the kitchen, garage, and any other areas in your home where fire risks exist. Everyone in the home should be trained in how to use a fire extinguisher so they can spring into action if needed.

10. Smoking

Smoking remains one of the leading causes of home fire deaths and the need for fire restoration in the United States. Keeping all smoking outside will go a long way to prevent house fires and make sure all materials are properly extinguished. Before throwing butts in the trash, douse them in water to make sure they are fully out.

Preventing House Fires Saves Lives, Personal Property

Following these common-sense tips to prevent house fires can save lives, and your belongings and property. If you have suffered damage from a house fire, contact the fire restoration to get your home and your lives back together.

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15 Responses

  1. Your suggestions for contacting emergency personnel were helpful. When my house caught fire, the first thing we had to do was put it out. That is something I will always remember.

  2. I like that you recommend installing smoke alarms to prevent a fire, as well as safely store flammable. My son just caused a little fire in my house, and we need to have it restored, so we are looking for advice to prevent this, and also hire a restoration company. I will make sure that I start looking for a restoration company, and talk to my husband about the prevention alternatives.

    1. Thank you for your response.

      I’m sorry about the fire your son caused, and I hope you were able to get it restored.

      And yes we try to educate our customer’s and communities every chance we get!

  3. My house is located in a fire-prone area, which is why I’m thinking of having a fire sprinkler installed on my property. Well, you’re also right about the importance of replacing the outdated electrical wiring because this may cause a hazard as well. I’ll also keep in mind to clean the food area thoroughly and make sure that there are no food particles that may cause a fire.

  4. My cabin home is located in the woods, which is why I’m planning to hire a damage contractor that may provide fire protection in my property. I also agree with you that it would be best to have my smoke alarm’s batteries tested at least every month. You’re also right about the importance of regularly check the dryer, especially you’ve mentioned that this generates a lot of heat.

  5. Thank you for reminding us that we should never leave unattended candles in the room. My sister likes to light scented candles hours before she sleeps and although she has never forgotten to blow them off, we still need to be extra careful. We heard that one of our relatives became victims of a house fire and none of them was able to receive proper compensation from their insurance providers. I think it might also be a good idea to talk to an adjuster just in case we file a claim for fire damage to ensure that we’ll be getting enough compensation to cover all the expenses.

  6. Thank you for telling me that I have to keep an eye on my cords and replace any frayed wires that may cause a fire. My sister texted me last night that a huge part of their kitchen had been burnt because of her daughter’s unsupervised cooking, and I’m afraid that it will happen in our household too because of our kids. I’ll inform everyone in our family to be extra careful and I hope my sister gets to hire experts in fire damage restoration so they can resume their normal activities immediately.

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