The winter months are the peak season for home fires. With over 300,000 fires every year, there is no doubting the importance of fire safety and prevention. Today we are taking a look at the top 5 causes of home fires so you can be aware and keep your family safe this winter season.

HEATING

  • According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is the leading cause of winter house fires. When improperly used, devices used for heating can be destructive and deadly.
  • Be sure to keep all flammables at least 3 feet away from a space heater.
  • Always turn off a space heater when going to bed or leaving the room.
  • When using gas heaters, be sure to install a carbon monoxide detector to avoid CO poisoning.
  • Have your heater inspected and cleaned by a qualified professional before the winter season begins. That includes any space heaters, wood-burning devices, or chimneys.

CANDLES

  • Fatalities and destruction due to candle use is on the rise. The most popular times for home candle fires are Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
  • Treat all flames, even small ones with caution. Keep all candles at least 12 inches away from flammable objects.
  • Never leave a candle burning when leaving a room. Blow it out every time.
  • Be wary of using candles in the bedroom where they may be forgotten if you fall asleep.
  • Never leave candles on when children or pets are playing alone.

SMOKING

  • Smoking materials like cigarettes, pipes, and cigars are one of the leading causes of fire deaths in the United States year-round.
  • Never smoke indoors. Keep all smoking materials out of reach of children.
  • Only sturdy, deep ashtrays should be used to put out smoking materials. Never get rid of materials in compost, vegetation, or near anything else that may light easily.
  • Douse butts and ashes completely in water or sand to ensure they are completely out.

COOKING

  • Cooking is the leading cause of house fires and injuries year-round.
  • Never leave the kitchen or hot appliances unattended while cooking.
  • Keep anything flammable away from the stove area. This might include paper towels, potholders, and towels.
  • When cooking, keep children and pets at least 3 feet away from the stove.
  • Keep your oven well maintained and clean to avoid grease buildup.

ELECTRICAL

  • Almost half of all fires in the winter months are due to Christmas tree fires.
  • Never use lit candles on your tree.
  • Check all strings of lights for loose bulbs, frayed wiring, or signs of wear and tear. Replace as needed.
  • Always read a manufacturers instruction for how many light strands can be connected. Too many connections can cause your outlet or power strip to overload.
  • Consider switching over to LED lights which require less energy than incandescent lights.

Awareness about fire safety and prevention are important steps in keeping your home and family safe. Taking these steps along with having a smoke detector installed and tested often are imperative.

 

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