Common Household Fire Causes
According to the National Fire Protection Association home fires caused over $8.4 billion in damages in 2020. While some fires are unfortunate and unpreventable accidents, there are some that could have been prevented if proper precautions were put in place. We wanted to discuss some of the most common causes of residential fires and how to prevent them to help keep you and your family safe!
- Cooking – The leading cause of fires in homes with a staggering 49% of fires, is due to cooking accidents and unfortunately most of these fires were preventable. You should never leave your stove or oven unattended while in use and be sure to set a timer when cooking things for a long period of time, so you don’t forget about them. If using oil and a fire starts, never use water to put the fire out. Keep a lid that is capable of covering the pan in use nearby, to smother the flames in the pan if possible and don’t remove the lid until the pan is completely cool.
- Heating equipment – After cooking, heating equipment like space heaters, wood stoves, and fireplaces are the next most common, causing 13% of residential fires. Be sure to always leave enough room between your space heaters and other objects in your home. If using a wood stove be sure to clean out the ashes regularly and store them outside in a metal container, AWAY from your home. Chimneys should be inspected regularly and cleaned to ensure there is no creosote buildup on the insides.
- Electrical – Following heating equipment, electrical fires accounted for 9% of residential fires. A majority of these fires were caused by faulty wiring and related equipment, but some were caused by plugs and extension cords. Never overload an outlet with too many things plugged in. Power strips should never be chained together and when using extension cords always double check there is no damage to the wiring before plugging it in.
- Smoking materials are another leading cause of fires in homes with 5% of the fires caused. When possible, avoid smoking in your home. If you do smoke inside, be sure to dispose of burning materials in the proper receptacles like a metal or glass ashtray and double check that they are 100% extinguished.
Not all fires are 100% preventable but we hope that this information can help to educate and prevent these traumatic events from happening to you and your family. Here at SERVPRO of Norfolk West we’re here to help, as leaders in the damage restoration industry we know firsthand the extent of damage that fires can cause to a home. If you are suffering from fire damage to your home, please reach out, we’re here to help.