Avoiding House Fires

No damage is scarier or more irreparable than a house fire. If the fire doesn’t get you, breathing in too much of the smoke can cause death by asphyxiation. There is always the fear that it will flare up in the night and someone won’t wake up in time to get out. The best thing you can do to prevent this is make sure you have smoke detectors in all the major areas of the house. Test them and replace the batteries as soon as they are low.

The following are some of the most common causes of house fires that you can easily avoid. Run a quick check through your home to make sure there are no fire hazards waiting to happen and that you have the tools to detect and extinguish a fire.

Cooking
The highest percentage of home fires are started in the kitchen. Big surprise, huh? So don’t leave your cooking unattended, especially hot oil. Keep some baking soda handy for any oil fires, and put a fire extinguisher in your kitchen.

Smoking
Do not smoke in bed! The safest place to smoke is outside, and it will keep your furniture nicer as well. Be aware of where the ash from your cigarette or cigar is falling, and when you’re done be sure to put it out completely. Do not just throw it somewhere and assume that nothing will catch on fire or that a breeze won’t blow it into some flammable brush. In fact, you could do yourself, your family, and your home a favor by just breaking the habit altogether.

Heater
Watch out for anything sitting next to a portable or radiating heater. Keep anything flammable at least 2 feet away including curtains, papers, and yourself. Do not put clothes over it to dry. The furnace is also dangerous. The space around a furnace or heater is not for storage. Leave it free and clear to keep your home safe.

Candles
Who can resist the allure of candlelight? It’s romantic, it’s beautiful, it’s mesmerizing, and it’s dangerous. One beautiful little flame can be easily knocked over by a stray arm or a pet. Setting up a romantic scene can be setting up disaster if candles are placed in precarious places or too close to something flammable. Remember to check all sides: what is the candle sitting on? What is next to it? What is above it? Don’t leave them unattended and be sure to blow them out when you leave or go to bed.

Electricity
Being resourceful and frugal are good things … when they don’t put you in harm’s way. It is not okay to have exposed wires or frayed cords. Replacing them will be cheaper than replacing your entire home. If your lights flicker when you use an appliance, or your breakers keep flipping, it is likely that there is some faulty wiring that should be checked.

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