05 Jun 6 Major Causes of Fire in the Home and How to Help Prevent Them
Without a doubt, it’s one of the scariest, life threatening events that can occur to anyone. Imagine it, waking up in the middle of the night to the smell of toxic fumes burning your every breath. Thick smoke bellowing everywhere. Confused, you look around only to see an orange, flickering glow seeping through the cracks in the door. You know the kids are sleeping in the other rooms. What do you do?!
Hopefully this type of scenario won’t ever happen to you in your lifetime; however, unfortunately it does. So how do we help prevent this type of situation from ever occurring and if it does, what do you do?
Here are some great pointers on how to prepare, should this type event occur.
This would seem the most obvious. When properly installed and maintained, smoke alarms play a significant role as an early warning system, preventing unnecessary deaths and injuries caused as a direct result of fire. As many as 60% of households deaths attributed to home fires are the direct result of no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Think about that for a second. Do you want to become one of those statistics?
So where should you place smoke alarms? The most effective areas to place your smoke alarms are either high up on the wall or on the ceilings away from windows or any ventilation. You should also install them on every level including the basement, outside of sleeping areas and also in the bedrooms.
You should regularly check your smoke alarms around the house to ensure they are maintained and working properly.
Less obvious is an Escape Plan. As with any emergency, it’s a good idea to prepare a method of escape and formulate a strategy that everyone in the home is familiar with. So if a fire occurred in your household tonight, would you and your family know what to do? If not, then its pivotal you come up with something as it may save your family’s life.
How do come up with a plan? If you are reading this, then you are probably on the internet, so researching is a great idea. Otherwise, draw up a plan of your home highlighting all of the possible exits for each room. Plan for a main exit route and an alternative. If someone in the home shouts “fire” then everyone should evacuate immediately. In addition, decide on a meeting place and when the firefighters arrive, let them know you are safe. Do not re-enter the burning building and practice your escape routes regularly to prevent panic in the event of an emergency situation.
How many of you have a Fire Extinguisher installed in the home? Very few I would imagine. Would it surprise you if I said it costs as little as $70 to purchase a 5lb Fire Extinguisher? If you do decide to purchase one, then make sure you are properly trained on how to use one. Know what types of fires the extinguisher puts out. You don’t want to be putting water on an electrical fire or hot oil.
If there was ever a good time to quit smoking, it’s now. As much as 33% of deaths caused by fired is caused by cigarettes. Smoking is the single biggest killer in accidental fires in the home, often because of careless behavior such as smoking in bed or not taking care after drinking alcohol.
Amongst smoking, cooking is also the leading cause of fires in the home. More often than not, its individual distraction that’s the cause of fire. People who walk off to answer the phone and forget they even starting cooking, only to come back to see the kitchen on fire. Also, people that come home late at night with “the munchies”. I’m sure many of us have been there, but placing food on the stove when you’ve had one too many might just kill you as you fall asleep on the sofa.
If you have any concerns over the electrical work in your home, call a qualified electrician to inspect the wiring. If you cannot afford one, make sure that any electrical cords are in good shape. Don’t overload receptacles with too many appliances as this is a sure way to start an electrical fire. Rather ironically, 9v batteries that are used to power smoke alarms are also a fire hazard. It is unsafe to keep these stored near paper clips, coins, pens or other metal objects. The reason is, the positive and negative posts are extremely close together and if any conductor comes into connection with the two posts, it can short circuit which is enough to cause a fire.