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Protect Your Home From Fire

protecting your home from fires

There are over 350,000 house fires per year in the United States, resulting in over 2,000 deaths and tens of thousands of injuries.  The resultant property damage is over $7 billion dollars.   Carelessness is probably the biggest cause of house fires, and being aware of how these fires can start is an excellent way to keep your family and home safe from harm.  Make sure you have smoke detectors in every room and also at least one fire extinguisher in the house.  Call 911 at the first sign of a fire.

The Kitchen

The kitchen is where most house fires originate, and cooking and baking are the reasons.  Heating oil in a pan can cause it to ignite, and if curtains or clothing are nearby, these can also catch fire.  Many people forget that they have something on the stove or in the oven until a fire has started.  When you are cooking, stay near the stove, or set a timer to remind you when the food is ready.  Children and pets can also cause kitchen fires if they turn on the burners.  Dogs have been known to accidentally turn on the stove because they were trying to reach something on the top of it.  Removing the knobs or putting a cover over them will prevent fires.

Also, when using the stove, do not lean over the burners, it is easy for clothing or long hair to catch fire.  If oil in a pan has ignited, do not throw water on it – this will only make the fire expand and set the kitchen alight – cover the pan with its lid or a wet towel after turning off the burner.

Space Heaters

Many people use electric space heaters to warm up a cold bedroom, but unless these are used properly, they can be responsible for fires.  Most of the problem occurs when the heater is placed too close to the bed, other furniture, or clothing.  The problem can be compounded if the person using the heater is either asleep or absent from the room.  If the heater tips over, unless there is an automatic shut off, it will continue to heat whatever it is up against until it causes a fire.  Using an extension cord, rather than plugging the heater directly into the wall socket will also increase the chance of a fire.

Appliances and Electrical Equipment

If electrical equipment is not used properly, it can cause a fire.  Running a cord under a rug, where the covering might be rubbed off after being walked on can cause the rug to ignite.  Overloading extension cords is another source of electrical fires, and using an extension cord that is not capable of handling a high wattage appliance can also cause a fire.

Gas water heaters can be responsible for fires if clothing or other objects are placed too close to them.  When the flame ignites, it can cause any cloth or other items to catch fire.  Use a plate cover to help prevent accidents and keep any cloth at least 3 feet away from the water heater.

Candles and Cats

Candles are a part of many homes, and they provide a certain ambiance that electric lights do not give.  They are also used a good deal for emergency lighting, but caution should always be used when candles are lit.  A candle should never be left unattended or around unsupervised children.

Oddly enough, cats are responsible for many fires started by candles.  They are often attracted to the moving flame and either by batting at the candle or twitching their tail against it, they can cause a fire to begin.