At Fire Tech, we work with contractors to make sure that Maryland, DC, and Virginia homeowners are protected from disastrous home fires by arming them with the best residential sprinkler systems. However, we urge our customers to stay aware of the danger posed by fire, and to prepare themselves for the worst-case scenarios. The best way to do this is to know the most common causes of home fires and to take the proper precautions to prevent them from starting.
More fires start in the kitchen than anywhere else in the home. If you leave the stove burning for an extended period, there’s a chance that something could pop or splatter, leading to a large fire more quickly than you might expect. Always keep an eye on what you’re cooking, and keep flammable oven mitts and rags a safe distance away from open flames. If you’re grilling, make sure you’re doing it outside and at least 10 feet away from your home.
While furnaces and chimneys do pose a risk and should be inspected and cleaned regularly, the more common culprits in this category are smaller, plug in space heaters. If you do use a space heater, make sure it’s far away from anything flammable, and try not to leave it unattended for long.
If you enjoy cigarettes in your home, make sure you are wide-awake while doing so. Use deep ashtrays, and avoid puffing in places that make you feel tired, like your bed or favorite recliner. Better yet, step outside and smoke. Just be sure your butts are completely extinguished when you dispose of them. A “finished” cigarette can stay lit for a long time before sparking a fire.
When it comes to protecting yourself from electrical fires, common sense can go a long way. For example, having damaged, exposed wires running along a furry carpet is probably not a good idea. If your outlets are loaded with plugs, extension cords, and power strips, chances are you’re putting a lot of strain on your electricity. When in doubt, call an electrician, especially when you notice dimming lights or frequently blown breakers. Avoid do-it-yourself electrical projects, and pay attention to detail when it comes to what is connected where.
There’s a reason why college dorms often outlaw candles. If you burn candles at home, make sure they are securely placed away from flammables and clear of any foot traffic. Don’t forget to blow them out if you leave home or go to bed.
We all remember being kids. They do some strange things, and fire can be fun to play with for those who aren’t fully aware of its dangers. Keep an eye on your kids and educate them about what a risk it is to mess around with fire. Arson, while much less accidental, is another human cause of fire. Arsonists tend to start fires in the bedroom most often, using trashcans as a way to get them started.
Christmas trees are a symbol of celebration and holiday cheer, but they also pose a significant risk of fire, especially when we wrap cheap strands of lights around them. Look at the lights before you put them on, and make sure they are properly plugged in. Also, make sure your tree has enough water, as a well-hydrated tree will better resist catching fire.