The winter seasons has a lot of holidays. The freezing cold and shortened days makes people want to chase away the gloom. From October to February, we have holiday after holiday, from Halloween to Valentine’s Day. The holidays in the middle, especially Thanksgiving and the December holidays, feature big meals and family events. It’s a wonderful time and the last thing you want is to have it spoiled by a house fire.
House fires are one of the most devastating accidents you can suffer. They could potentially destroy your entire home, along with all your possessions. Even if they don’t get that out of control, there will still be some damage from both the flames and the smoke. The best way to avoid a house fire is to prevent it. For that, you need to know what to worry about. Here are some of the most common causes of house fires.
1. Cooking Fires
Most house fires are caused by cooking-related incidents. They account for about 58% and are usually caused by someone leaving a stove on. If you want to prevent a cooking fire, be sure you always stay near your cooking equipment while it’s in use. Don’t ever walk away from the stove, even if you think it’s just for a moment. Something as simple as leaving the room to answer a phone call can be all it takes for a fire to start. Always use a timer. If the timer has a loud alarm, all the better, so in case you do get distracted, you’ll have a reminder. Always follow cooking instructions, especially when you’re cooking something big, like a Thanksgiving turkey. Finally, make sure that you keep anything flammable away from the cooking surfaces. Do not put anything on the stovetop and store flammable liquids and powders away from it.
This may come as a shock, but heating equipment gets hot. I know, right? Who’d have ever believed it? That’s why heating systems are the second biggest cause of fires. Usually this results from a failure to clean the heater or chimney. Dust is flammable and can easily catch fire if it chokes the heater too much. Make sure you have it cleaned every year. Portable space heaters are also a serious risk. They get very hot and can easily set fire to nearby substances, like dirty laundry carelessly dropped on the floor, or the blankets on your bed if you set them too close. If you set one up in your home office, be sure that it’s away from any paper. They also need regular cleaning. Don’t take any chances with them.
3. Electrical Fires
Electrical fires are another of the most common causes. Faulty lighting fixtures cause most electrical fires. Either they’re installed to close to something flammable, or they’re installed incorrectly and short out. Other causes of electrical fires include overloading outlets by plugging in too many power strips, using the wrong type of bulb for a lighting fixture, and using appliances with frayed cords. Always have a qualified electrician install and repair your electrical systems. And never, NEVER overload an outlet.
4. Open Flames
Especially over the holidays, people like to light fires. Usually in the fireplace, but you also need to worry about candles, Christmas decorations, and naughty children with matches. If you want to start a fire in your home, make sure the fireplace and chimney are clean and clear of debris. If you light candles, don’t leave them unattended and make sure you put them out before going to bed. Avoid using real candles for Christmas tree decorations. If you smoke, do not do so before going to bed, as it’s easy to fall asleep with a lit cigarette. If a lit cigarette starts a fire in your bed, the chances of dying in a house fire go up dramatically for obvious reasons. Finally, make sure you always store your candles, matches, and lighters in a secret place where your children can’t find them.
5. Misuse of Appliances
Appliances are extremely convenient, but they can be a cause of fires if not used appropriately. As electrical devices, they are subject to many of the same risks. Frayed cords can cause shorts and sparks that can light up many of the things you store in your kitchen or around the house. Drier fires can happen if you fail to clean the lint filter. Always make sure you follow the instructions and safety precautions on your appliances. These will be specified in the user’s manual.
Don’t Forget About Fire Alarms
A working fire alarm is the difference between losing a little and losing a lot. It can even be a life or death situation. 60% of all deaths in house fires happen in houses that don’t have proper smoke alarms. While most homes have them built in during construction by law these days, older homes may not have them, so be sure to check up on them. Check the batteries to make sure they are still good. The battery life on most commercially sold fire alarms will be many years, but you still need to do tests to make sure nothing’s faulty.
We’re Here To Help
The best way to avoid a fire is to prevent it. It’s easy to think that it’ll never happen to you, but it always could. Make sure you take all the needed precautions. If you do, you shouldn’t need to worry. Still, nothing can guarantee a fire won’t start. If something should go wrong, Alpine Cleaning and Restoration is here to help. Read our handy article on what to do immediately following a house fire. After that, get in touch with us and we can help restore your home from any fire damage. When we’re done, you won’t smell any traces of smoke.
Stay safe, and enjoy your holidays.