Common Fire Hazards: Review The Most Common Fire Hazards To Prevent Fire and Smoke Damage
Fire departments respond to a home fire every 86 seconds. While that number might be shocking, many still think that it could never happen to them. However, a small flame can turn into a major fire in as little as 30 seconds. Your entire home can fill with thick black smoke in minutes, making it difficult to see and breathe. By reviewing these common fire hazards, you can help protect yourself from a devastating fire.
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Cooking Fires are the Most Dangerous of All Common Fire Hazards
Cooking fires account for nearly half of all home fires. They are the leading cause of home fire injuries. Cooking fires are also tied for the second leading cause of death among all types of residential fires. To prevent kitchen fires, avoid leaving food unattended while cooking.
Keep a heavy, tight-fitting lid nearby to smother flames as necessary. Never use water on an oil or grease fire, as it may cause the fire to spread. Instead, use salt to put out small oil fires. Install and maintain a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and review usage instructions regularly.
Other Common Fire Hazards
Heating Equipment: Heating equipment fires are tied for the second leading cause of death among all types of residential fires. Space heaters and portable heating devices are much more likely to cause fires than centralized heating units like furnaces. Only purchase a space heater that has been certified by an independent testing laboratory.
Always follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions and never leave a space heater unattended. If using a space heater while sleeping, make sure it is a safe distance from bedding and other flammable materials.
Electrical Systems: Electrical fires are a very wide category, which makes it difficult to identify all of the potential hazards. In-wall wiring, lighting fixtures, electrical appliances, extension cords, and electronic equipment all pose potential fire risks. Always hire a professional electrician to make electrical upgrades, even if you feel comfortable doing the work yourself.
Never overload extension cords and outlets or run extension cords under carpeting. Avoid using extension cords with space heaters or toaster ovens. Use the correct wattage of light bulbs in all lamps and light fixtures.
Smoking: Smoking-related fires are the leading cause of home fire deaths. Most smoking-related fires result from individuals falling asleep while smoking, either in bed or upholstered furniture. To prevent smoking-related fires, avoid smoking while laying in bed or when extremely tired.
E xtinguish cigarettes properly and empty ashtrays regularly. Never throw light cigarettes into the trash. The same goes for cigars, pipe tobacco, and all other smoking materials.
More Fire Prevention and Safety
In addition to the fire hazard recommendations above, install and maintain smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. Even if it seems unnecessary, we recommended that you always evacuate during a fire. Call 911 or the fire department immediately and remain at a safe distance until given the all clear.
Use fire extinguishers to slow down the spread of fires, allowing your family more time to safely evacuate. For more fire prevention tips, review our fire safety checklist and guide to fire safety equipment.
Cleaning Up After A Fire
No matter how big or small, a fire is a very stressful event. Even small kitchen fires can cause significant smoke and soot damage that pose a risk to the contents of your home or office. Clean smoke and soot damage up quickly after a fire to prevent permanent stains and other damage.
Due to the nature of fires, smoke and soot particles can spread much further than the actual fire. As a result, smoke and soot can stained surfaces and furniture in other rooms or even damage electronics, photographs, heirlooms, and collectibles.