Top 5 Causes Of Fire Damage

There are many reasons a home could catch fire and go down in flames. It is important to be aware of these causes so that you may prevent them as much as you can. Many house fires are results of carelessness or irresponsible activity.  Forgetting you put a pan in the oven or leaving your curling iron on next to tissues when you leave the house are two ways house fires could start out of nowhere. There is nothing more devastating than a family arriving to their home only to find ashes and debris where the house once stood. Here you will learn about five of the top causes of fire damage and some fire damage tips on avoiding this catastrophe.

Causes of House Fires:

1. Cooking

Cooking is the number one cause of house fires starting. Unfortunately we are not all world renowned chefs like we may think. Not only is this the number one cause in Sarasota, but in the entire United States.

There are many things you can do to be safer in the kitchen. These are things you must practice every day.

  1. Never leave pot holders or towels near a stove or oven that is currently on or that has been on within the past two to three hours. Plastic bags, such as loaves of bread, should also be kept away from the hot machine. The towels can often be flammable and the melting plastic is a sure recipe for a fire to begin. It is so important to keep all papers and other flammable objects away from the stove at all times. Putting the kitchen linens in a specific drawer at a safe distance from the stove is a great routine to get in.
  2. Be extra careful when frying foods or cooking in any other way that involves hot oils and greases. Oil and grease pop and crackle when hot. You must be very careful not to burn yourself but also not to let any oil or grease spill on the burner of the stove top.  This can cause an immediate fire. Any surrounding grease will serve as fuel to the fire. If a fire does break out remember to never use water to put it out. Oil fires must be put out with a fire extinguisher as the water will only splash the fire around and spread it on the walls and counters.
  3. The last rule of the kitchen is simple: never leave a hot stove or oven unattended. Set a timer when cooking or baking so you do not forget to remove the item(s) and always remember to shut the oven or stovetop off when you are finished. This alone is a big step in prevention of kitchen fires.

Kitchen fires are completely preventable. You must always cook with caution and be as safe and careful as you can be. Another great tip is to store a fire extinguisher in your cabinet so that it is readily available at all times.  Practicing safe cooking will greatly reduce your risk of a house fire that originates in the kitchen.

2. Smoking in your Home

Not only does smoking cigarettes put your health at risk, but it also puts the welfare of your home at risk. Many find smoking indoors to be relaxing. You can sit on your sofa or in your bed and enjoy the evening news while inhaling tobacco. Though this may seem appealing to smokers, and repulsive to non-smokers, it is incredibly dangerous. The National Fire Protection Association reported that smoking in your home leads to more house fire deaths than any other cause (in terms of house fires). Falling asleep while in the midst of smoking leads to detrimental consequences. Another way you can prevent fires occurring in your home is to always remember to take your smoking habit outside. Certainly never smoke while in bed or even reclining on your couch. The result could be disastrous.

3. Heating

Heating systems are a major cause of house fires in the United States. Typically this is more common in northern states that experience extreme cold climates as the heating system is used for longer periods of time due to longer winters. Portable heaters and space heaters are incredibly dangerous if not used with caution.

Space heaters are dangerous for the same reason they are convenient: they are small and can be moved wherever they are needed. While this is convenient to the tenant, it is dangerous because this allows them to be moved near other objects like furniture or walls. Additionally they are out in the open and are easy to knock over. It is vital to keep space heaters in specific, designated areas so that they are out of harm’s way. Keep the heater blocked off by house gates and in open areas so there is little to no chance of anything coming into contact with it.    

4. Electrical Wiring

Fires caused by flaws in electrical wiring are not uncommon. This is mostly seen in older houses that may have faulty or outdated wiring. Excessive dust and debris can also impact the electrical system’s performance. Again these characteristics are found in older homes. Older homes are more apt to have bare wires come into contact with insulation and things of the like.

One simple way to check for an abundance of accumulated dust is by removing light switch and outlet covers to see if there is dust in the wall. If so, it will need to be cleaned to protect against electrical fires.

5. Electronics

Electronics can cause fires as well and happen to be the fifth most popular cause of house fires. This happens for example if an outlet is overloaded with power cords. Be sure that all of your electronics and appliances have proper ventilation. If they do not it can cause them to overheat, in turn, ending in a house fire.  You must make sure your electronics are not considerably out of date. Your antiques may be beautiful but they are not worth burning your house down. Have any antique electronics inspected by a licensed technician to assure that they still function adequately and safely. When plugging suspicious items in be sure to watch for smoking or sparks coming from the outlet when it meets the prongs on the cord. A slight burning odor can also mean the electronic is a danger to your home. These are sure signs that it is not safe to use.