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Tips For Reducing Fire Danger Around Your HomeAugust 25th, 2020 by
An out-of-control fire is one of the biggest destructive forces a homeowner can face. Over 4.5 million homes in the U.S. are at high or extreme risk of wildfire, and house fires cost about $6.9 billion in property damage annually. Reduce your fire danger risk by learning more about the causes of household and outdoor fires and what you can do to prevent them.
Where Do Fires Start?
50% of residential home fires start in the kitchen, and cooking is the number one cause of fires in the house. The bedroom, living room, chimney and laundry room are the other key places where fires start.
About 85% of wildfires are caused by humans. Unattended campfires, intentional acts of arson and discarded cigarettes are common reasons that wildfires start. The other 15% are caused by natural factors, such as lightning.
A fire needs three things to burn.
- Fire needs an ignition source, such as an electrical spark, a lighter or another heat source.
- Fuel, such as grass or vegetation, wood, paper, or even gasoline or oil.
How Can You Reduce Fire Danger Inside Your Home?
Being diligent about home maintenance can reduce fire hazards.
Install smoke alarms in your home – at least one on each level of your home, including the basement. You should also install one in each bedroom and another one outside each sleeping area. Check the batteries monthly and replace them annually. Make your smoke alarm testing part of your regular home maintenance.
Because kitchen fires are the most common, you should do your due diligence:
- Have a fire extinguisher within easy reach of the stove.
- Make sure your microwave is properly vented.
- Keep clutter away from your stove and other appliances.
- Don’t leave cooking unattended.
- Keep flammable materials away from your stove, such as potholders or paper towels. Tie your hair back when cooking.
It’s also a good idea to go through your home and look for fire hazards, such as too many plugs in one outlet. If you have an appliance that gives off heat, make sure to give it plenty of room away from flammable materials. Avoid running extension cords under rugs. Check your lamps to make sure that the bulbs you use are manufacturer recommended.
The dryer is another appliance that is a high risk for fires. Make sure to clean out the lint screen every time you use your dryer. Pull the dryer out once a year and clean the lint underneath and around it, and clean or replace the outdoor vent. Hire a professional duct cleaner to help you.
What About Reducing Fire Danger Outside Your Home?
Whether your home is at risk for wildfires or not, you should consider ways to reduce the risk of fires outdoors. Using the fire triad of heat, oxygen and fuel, you can assess and minimize your risks:
- Move your grill at least 10 feet away from your home or other buildings. Remove any overhead branches that could ignite while cooking.
- Store flammable liquids in metal containers away from heat sources.
- Don’t keep debris near your heater or other heat sources.
- Clean up anything that could fuel a fire, such as your woodpile or piles of leaves near your home’s foundation.
Can a Professional Help Reduce Fire Danger?
Hiring a professional home inspector can help you spot problems before they become emergencies. You can also hire a local home service professional to help you correct any fire dangers that exist within your home.
- Faulty wiring in the attic is a high risk for fire. Have an electrician check the wiring every one to two years to make sure that rodents haven’t chewed anything and that the system is in good working order.
- Have your HVAC system and chimney inspected and cleaned annually.
- If you live in a high-risk area for wildfires, work with your landscaper to create a defensible space to reduce your fire risk.
- When you remodel, ask your contractor about using non-flammable materials. Many roof tiles are fire-resistant. You can also use gypsum board on the interior of your home to prevent fires from spreading.
Benjamin Franklin said “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” in 1734 while addressing the topic of fire safety for his friends and neighbors in Philadelphia. Although you may not be able to prevent every fire, you can reduce your risk and protect your home and family. Perform an annual inspection to look for fire hazards, and find professionals to help at Five Star Rated.