You know building fires can be destructive, but are you familiar with the most common fire starters in homes and businesses? By recognizing these fire hazards, you can take steps to ensure you stop blazes before they start.
Unattended Kitchen Appliances
The kitchen is the most fire-prone room in your home. If you own a restaurant or other business with cooking equipment, it’s vital to never leave appliances unattended. Likely hazards include grease becoming overheated, bread toasting too long, or a cookbook getting too close to an open flame, and they are all enough to start a fire.
Unsafe Cooking Methods
Keep the cooking area clean and roll up your sleeves so they can’t catch fire over a hot stove. Only place microwave-safe dishes in the microwave. Remain alert when cooking and keep kids and pets out of the kitchen. Never cook while under the influence of alcohol.
Worn Out Electrical Cords
Frayed or damaged cords are common fire starters in both homes and businesses. Exposed wires heat up and could ignite surrounding textiles, including the carpet or an area rug. Keep an eye on the condition of your electrical cords and keep your pets from chewing them so they remain in good condition.
Overloaded Power Strips
This situation is particularly common during the holidays when homeowners overpower a single outlet with too many Christmas lights. Use only heavy duty extension cords and avoid overloading the circuit, which can cause a spark and create a serious fire hazard.
Malfunctioning Electrical Appliances
Most homes and businesses rely on electrical appliances for daily tasks. Any of these are prone to malfunction at one point or another, especially toward the end of the equipment’s lifespan. Malfunctions sometimes result in a spark, which is obviously a substantial fire hazard. Faulty coffee makers, toasters, TVs, laptops and other electronics have been to blame for serious fires.
Flammable Products Placed Near Sources of Ignition
There are countless examples of flammable products igniting when they come in contact with sources of heat. A lamp shade touching a hot light bulb, curtains situated too close to an electric space heater, and an aerosol spray can used near the stove are just a few examples.
Candles lead to hundreds of house fires every year. Make sure you never place a burning candle near curtains, lampshades or anything else flammable. Place candles in adequate holders and place them on a steady surface away from the edge. Even with these precautions, never leave burning candles unattended. All it takes is a moment for a child or pet to nudge the candle or knock it over.
Fireplace or Wood Stove
When used improperly, fireplaces and wood stoves are common fire starters. Make sure the chimney is unobstructed before burning anything. Wait to dispose of ashes until they are completely cool to the touch. Even the tiniest smoldering embers could start a fire in the trash can.
Unsafe Smoking Practices
Cigarettes are a substantial fire hazard. Habits such as smoking in bed, leaving lit cigarettes unattended, or emptying the contents of an ashtray before they cool are the cause of hundreds of fires every year. Your best bet is to smoke outside and dispose of cigarettes in noncombustible containers, not in flower pots or as litter on the street.
Matches and Lighters
If these get into the hands of children, they can become lethal, fire-starting weapons. If you smoke, keep only one lighter or book of matches accessible at a time, and keep them with you. Teach your children to take matches and lighters seriously and to tell an adult if they find any lying around.
If your home or business has experienced the devastating results of fire starters, professional restoration services from Rainbow Restoration® can help you get back on your feet. Please contact us today to begin the recovery process.
Some other fire related articles you might be interested in:
Fire Explained: What is it and How Does it Spread?
Fireplaces: 7 Burn Practices to Increase Efficiency