In Minnesota, 73% of fire-related deaths happen in homes. Unattended cooking, the careless placement of candles and space heaters, and other simple mistakes lead to the majority of these fires.
Fortunately, you can keep your family, and Forest Lake home safe from residential fires by following just a few basic safety rules.
It all starts with knowing what the most common causes of house fires are:
1) Cooking Accidents in the Kitchen
Fire safety in the home starts in the kitchen. That’s because kitchen fires are the #1 source of home fires — both in Minnesota and elsewhere around the nation.
But you can prevent kitchen fires in your home with just a few simple rules. First, always monitor your cooking, never leaving the room while a hot pan or pot is on the stove. This is especially true when frying and sautéing as grease fires are common and can quickly become severe.
Next, keep flammable objects and liquids far away from cooking heat. Don’t leave open oil and grease near flames, and keep dish towels, drapes, oven mitts, and clothing far away as well.
2) Cooking Accidents Outdoors
Outside cooking fires can pose risks as well. Ensure that your grill is always clean and free of fat or grease build-up before beginning, and never leave your grill unattended. Furthermore, keep your grill away from your home. It should be placed well away from eaves, overhangs, deck railings, and tree branches.
Candles can be a lovely accent to your dinner table or living room over the holidays or on a special evening. But candles are open flames, and any type of open flame is a fire risk.
Of course, you can still enjoy the warm and inviting light of candles in your home. Just make sure to take the proper safety precautions. In particular, never leave candles unattended, and always have an adult present when candles are burning. Watch children and dogs closely around candles, and keep curtains, bedspreads, decorations, furniture, and other flammable objects far away from the flame.
4) Flammable Liquids
It may surprise you how many flammable liquids are in and around your home. Paint itself is a flammable liquid, as is paint remover and other stains and solvents. These materials (as well as things like nail polish remover and some cleaning liquids) need to be kept in a safe location at all times.
Remember that using flammable liquids such as furniture stain with rags or paper towel can pose its own danger. Never leave these rags or towels crumpled up in piles, and never throw them in a waste bin directly. Doing this sets the stage for spontaneous combustion — a terrible and very real danger.
5) Electrical Glitches
Electrical problems are especially troublesome because they often go unnoticed until it’s too late. You can avoid in-wall electrical fires by installing AFCI outlets, which detect possible fire-causing arc-faults and shut off electricity immediately before a spark results. Also, refrain from overloading outlets, and avoid using too many power bars and extension cords.
6) Portable Heaters
Space heaters or portable heaters remain a terrible hazard for many homeowners as they can easily catch nearby objects alight. To avoid this, only use space heaters in a flat, obstruction-free zone. Ensure the unit will not tip over and remove things like drapes, curtains, and bedspreads from anywhere near the heater. Finally, never use a space heater where an adult is not present at all times.
7) Clogged Dryer Vents
Dryer vents constantly flow with extremely hot air, and when they become clogged with lint, the result can be catastrophic. Avoid dryer vent fires by always ensuring that your dryer vent is clean and lint-free.
In addition to installing proper fire safety equipment in your home (smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, etc.), it is critical that you also realize the potential fire hazards present. Paying attention to the seven hazards listed above and following appropriate safety protocol could save the lives of your family and your home.
For more information about fire safety and to learn how you can further protect your home with home insurance, contact Wheaton Insurance today.