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Home fires are a terrible thing that can end up costing you your whole house and possibly your life. Something no one wants to happen. That’s why it pays to know what the leading sources of fires are. You can then make sure your home is up to code and minimize the chances of a fire happening to you.
Between 2010-2014, there was an average of over 350 000 home fires per year, the most common causes are listed below.
Almost half of all fires in homes were the result of a cooking mishap. Shock, right? In most cases, cooking oil or grease was to blame. They typically cause a small, easy to control fire, but still smokey activating the smoke detectors.
Even though these kinds of fires don’t sound too dangerous, they still account for about 44% of all injuries caused by residential fires. This is probably the result of people trying to put out the fire before it spreads.
The second most common cause of fires is heating equipment. This includes large HVAC systems, open flame fireplaces, and natural gas furnaces. However, injuries resulting from this kind of fire happen less frequently than kitchen fires.
Regular maintenance of your HVAC system is the best prevention strategy for this kind of fire. Make sure you know your heating equipment well.
Thanks to rigorous quality standards, electrical fires have dropped significantly. They do not cause a lot of injuries, but are responsible for an unevenly high amount of deaths, at around 16%.
The best protection against electrical fires is keeping your home up to the code and hiring professional electricians. There’s no DIYing electrical! If you aren’t a professional, installing a central heating unit or electrical fixture probably isn’t the best idea. You wouldn’t be familiar with the local codes or recognize potential problems as a professional would. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
There are cases when the fire was caused on purpose. Arson is a serious crime and it causes a lot of material damage as well as deaths. Sadly, arson causes about 14% of all home fire deaths.
People falling asleep with a cigarette in hand may sound like something from a movie, but it happens more than we would like to believe. Cigarettes and other smoking materials are the leading cause of deaths in residential fires, with over 20%.
Even though these fires account for only 5% of all home fires, people are close to the source of the fire and therefore get injured and die more often than in any other scenario.
Candles and other open flames do not cause as many fires as these other scenarios. They do happen though when people are not careful. In most cases, these are only minor fires that are easily and quickly put out.
Just doing simple things like having your heating equipment quality checked yearly by a professional, cleaning out your chimneys, testing smoke alarms monthly, and keeping flammables at least three feet away from heat sources can make all the difference. It’s really about common sense. Stay safe and fire-free!
Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.