3 Ways to Safeguard Your Home from Fire
U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,345,500 fires in the year 2015 alone. Those fires accounted for 3,280 civilian deaths and 15,700 injuries. Further data from the National Fire Protection Association, the leading resource on fire-related hazards, reports that U.S. fire departments respond to a home fire every 86 seconds. Fire danger is a real hazard. And the leading causes of home fires may surprise you. Here are the most common reasons for home fires, and how you can prevent them from happening in your own home.
Appliances & Equipment
Think about the everyday appliances and equipment in your home. From washing machines and dryers to air conditioners, heating units and cooking appliances, these commonplace items may pose a risk to your safety at home. The NFPA reports that cooking is the leading cause of home fires and fire-related injuries. Additionally, NFPA data shows that heating equipment, which includes portable and fixed heaters, central heat systems and wood stores, was involved in one in five home fire deaths. Water heaters are particularly vulnerable to fires if they’re old or laundry gets too close. Replace your water heater if it’s old or faulty.
In addition to outfitting your home with smoke detectors, homeowners should consider implementing a sprinkler system as well. The NFPA cites that home fire-related deaths can be decreased by 81 percent with the implementation of sprinkler systems. However, according the same data, sprinklers were only found in 7 percent of all home fires. If your home is already outfitted with a sprinkler system be sure to conduct regular maintenance routinely. Older systems can potentially malfunction and in some circumstances can be turned off altogether.
Proper electrical wiring can be the difference between a safe and unsafe home. From the year 2010 to 2014, electrical fires were responsible for 57 percent of home fires, according to the NFPA. These fires caused $1.4 billion in property damages. There’s no need for the average homeowner to become a electrical expert, however, homeowners should be well-versed in the basics of electrical wiring to vet professional and trusted contractors. The average cost to wire a new house, a 1,600 square-foot home, for example, ranges from $2,500 to $5,000. House wiring prices vary, and total cost is dependent factors such as switches, wire circuits, wire costs and outlets, however, you can expect to pay a master electrician $30 to $45 per hour for his or her work.
Between the years 2009 and 2013, 25 candle-caused fires were reported each day. One-third of candle fires started in bedrooms, and falling asleep was a factor in 11 percent of the cases, according to the NFPA. Although candles make great decorations, they can be dangerous. This is especially true if you have children or pets in the home. When not in use, make sure that all lighters and matches are stored up high in a cabinet and out of reach of children. If you do burn candles in your home, avoid burning them in the bedroom. Additionally, keep candles one foot away from anything that can burn, spaces free of clutter are best, as half of all candle fires start when flammable items are too close to a candle. Remember not to burn candles all the way down and use candle holders that are sturdy and won’t tip over.
Protecting your home is a simple as taking the right precautions. From correcting faulty electrical wiring to installing sprinklers and properly burning candles, you can keep your home safe and protected from potentially devastating home fires.