How to Prevent House Fires
House fires are a common problem in the United States and can leave devastating results. Not only are fires in the home terrifying and deadly, but they can also cause extensive structural damage to your property.
To avoid a house fire destroying your home, it’s vital that you know common safety tips to prevent flames from igniting.
House fires come in many forms, so we’ll break down all the different causes and preventative measures you can take to keep you and your family safe.
How Can You Prevent a Fire at Home?
1) Routinely Inspect Your Fire Safety Systems
As you may already be aware, your smoke alarms are one of the first things to detect a fire in the house. Modern smoke detectors can detect both smoke and carbon monoxide, two components of a burning flame. Most of the time, you’ll have them installed into the ceiling. You can even hook up these smoke alarms to your smartphone to get alerts while you’re out.
However, all these features are useless if your smoke alarms aren’t working correctly. That’s why you must regularly test your fire safety systems. The US Fire Administration recommends that you should test your alarms and carbon monoxide detectors at least once a month.
Knowing that your fire safety systems are all working will not only give you more peace of mind but could also save you and your family’s lives.
2) Keep Your Oven and Stove Clean
Cooking on an uncleaned stove can be incredibly dangerous. Various food particles that collect at the bottom of the stove could be flammable and suddenly cause a fire to combust. The same goes for your oven.
Besides food particles, cooking oil is another risk factor. Indeed, cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires and the second leading cause of home fire fatalities.
To avoid this, make sure you clean your stove and oven regularly. Removing the dangerous particles will significantly reduce the chances of a sudden fire breaking out.
If you’re using a gas stove, then it’s recommended that you clean it after every cooking. Even with stoves with a self-cleaning function, you should thoroughly clean them at least once a month.
3) Minimize Distractions When in the Kitchen
Being distracted while cooking can be a tremendous fire hazard, and things can go wrong incredibly fast. Whether you leave your water boiling unattended or lean in too close to the stove with loose clothing, these minor mistakes can lead to house fires.
Staying focused in the kitchen can help keep your home and family safe. If, for some reason, you need to leave the kitchen while cooking, make sure you turn the stove off beforehand. Moreover, you can also ask someone to watch the stove or oven if you need to step out for a moment.
4) Don’t Leave Cords Plugged In
Kitchen fires are one thing, but electrical fires are another fiasco you want to avoid. Every year, nearly 50,000 home fires result from electrical failures or malfunction. Too much power running through your appliances could cause a sudden fire. As a result, it’s wise to get into the routine of unplugging any devices you aren’t using.
Even if switched off, your TV, computer, and gaming consoles all use electricity when plugged in. Wherever electricity flows, there’s always the chance of a power surge or a device overheating, causing a fire to combust.
By getting into the habit of unplugging your appliances, you’ll significantly reduce the chances of an electrical fire destroying your home.
5) Be Mindful of Flammable Items
It should go without saying that you want to keep flammable items away from heat and open flames. But sometimes, it’s easy to let your guard down in your home.
Some everyday flammable items in the household include:
- Cooking oil
Make sure that your clothing and hair aren’t near the flames when using your fireplace. By being mindful, you can prevent fires from suddenly combusting in your house and causing severe damage.
6) Refrain From Smoking Inside
Smoking in your home can be a significant fire hazard, especially if you do it regularly. Roughly 1,000 people die every year in house fires caused by smoking.
If you’re a regular smoker, make sure that you smoke outside. If you need to smoke indoors, make sure that it’s in a room with adequate ventilation. Meanwhile, ensure that your cigarette is entirely out before leaving it in the ashtray.
7) Change Your Heating Filters
Heating and HVAC systems require a filter to function correctly. Over the years, lint and debris can clog the filters. Build-up will impact the performance of your heating system, and it could also cause a house fire. The lint can make its way into the furnace and ignite.
As a result, you’ll need to regularly check and replace your heating filters. The same goes for the filters in your dryer.
The general rule of thumb is to have a professional come and inspect your filters and system components at least once per year.
8) Declutter Your Home
While keeping your home clean may not directly prevent a house fire, it can ensure that the fire doesn’t spread as quickly. When the home is full of clothes, papers, trash, and other materials, the fire has enough fuel to spread to a deadly proportion.
Every month, try to go through your property and remove any items you no longer need. It will prevent fire from spreading and make your home more organized.
9) Put Out the Fire in Your Fireplace
Like the kitchen, it’s vital to be attentive whenever using your fireplace. Moreover, you want to put out the fire completely before leaving the room.
Fires in the fireplace can be unpredictable and can pop and reignite shortly after being put out. Therefore, stay around for a few minutes to watch the fire so you know it’s completely extinguished.
Finally, inspect the fire again before going to sleep to make sure there aren’t any embers or flames inside the wood that could cause the fire to light.
10) Remove Exterior Debris
Now you know several ways to protect the inside of your house, but what about the outside? Debris like leaves, firewood, and other compounds can be flammable and potentially ignite. To avoid this, you’ll want to remove anything that could be a fire hazard from your property.
Regularly clean your gutters, siding, and other parts of your home’s exterior. Doing so can eliminate the risk of an exterior fire that could cost you your home or worse.
Dealing with house fires can be daunting and terrifying. Luckily, you can take several preventative measures to reduce the chances of a house fire starting. Remember to regularly check your safety systems, heating filters, and electrical devices.
If you’re already dealing with fire and smoke damage and need restoration services, reach out to All Dry USA for assistance. Our team of professionals knows how to deal with fire damage so that you can restore your home to a livable condition. We’ve helped countless homeowners recover from fire damage, and we can help you, too.