It’s that time of the year again; time to turn off the AC, fire up the furnaces, watch some football and enjoy the fall weather. As good as all that sounds, this time of year is also the beginning of the house fire season; the season when the most house fires are reported and the most damage is done due to candles, fireplaces, kitchen fires and old corroded wires. This seasonal hazard piece will focus on the dangers that this season brings and what can be done to prevent them from happening.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency more than 4,000 Americans die and more than 25,000 are injured in house fires each year while causing an estimated $8.6 billion in damages. With these numbers continually growing, experts are looking for solutions to lowering the numbers and keeping more people safe. House fires can be devastating losses to families because they can spring up out of nowhere and take everything you own. Year after year homes and property are burned and destroyed by fires simply because precautions are not taken.
Here are some precautions that should be made during this house fire season.
What room in your house is the most prone to having fires break out? The kitchen; hot oil, grease, ovens, stoves and open flames are all factors that increase the possibility of a fire starting in your kitchen. One way you can prevent a fire from breaking out is to make sure that all of your appliances are serviced, cleaned and in good shape. If they are not working properly or tend to stay dirty or full of food; that increases the risk for fires breaking out. By cleaning them out and emptying the crumb trays you will lower the odds of a fire starting.
Some other ways you can ensure your home will be safe is by; unplugging your electrical appliances when they are not in use, install a smoke detector near the kitchen, keeping a fire extinguisher close by, avoid using metal in the microwave, avoid overfilling pots or pans with oil or grease and never leave your cooking unattended. Being present in the kitchen is a must when cooking or preparing food so if an accident does occur you are able to hop on the issue right away.
Every year there is that one family who tries to deep fry their turkey and ends up burning down their garage, kitchen or whole house, this is one reason why the kitchen is the leading area for the origin for home structure fires. While only 4 percent of house fires start in the living room or family room and 8 percent start in the bedrooms. With a higher risk of a fire breaking out, the kitchen is a very important area of the house to watch this fire season.
Other factors that increase the risk of house fires during this season are holiday decorations like candles, lights, garland and much more. When hanging lights on your home or property, the first thing you are going to want to do is inspect the lights to make sure that there are no broken bulbs or torn wires. If you plug in a string of lights with one of these defects you run the risk of shorting out something or creating a spark and starting a fire.
One other important tip is to not overload electrical sockets, we know that everyone wants to have the best decorations and have the most lights, but if you are planning on covering your home, please be cautious and use several outlets. The last and probably most important thing you should do this holiday season is never leave your lights unattended; it runs the risk of causing more fire and more damage especially when you aren’t home.
For candles during this fire/holiday season try to avoid using lit candles, yes I know that a candle is make to be lit but if you choose to light them make sure they are on a sturdy holder and in a place where they cannot be knocked over. Candles can be very dangerous in homes, especially when they are left unattended and not watched, so always remember to keep an eye out for your candles and blow them out when you are going to leave.
The high cost of home heating bills is a driving factor for people to switch to other ways of heating like space heaters, wood burning stoves and fire places which all have high risks of starting a house fire. When using one of these heating alternatives be sure that you read the instructions carefully and make sure that they are all cleaned and working properly before you turn them on or light them.
A dirty clogged fire place is one place where if it is not cleaned and maintained it could not let out the necessary smoke and ash and start a fire in your home. Overall when using any type of wood burning oven or heater make sure that you keep it away from anything flammable and keep it clean to ensure that the fire will burn smoothly and ventilate properly.
The last way you can protect yourselves and your home this season is to not let anyone smoke in your home. Fire officials have stated that smoking in your home dramatically increases the possibility of a fire breaking out, so be sure to not smoke in your home and dispose of your cigarette butts properly.
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Content Source: Alliance Disaster Kleenup