According to the National Fire Protection Association in 2015, there were 1,345,500 fires reported in the United States. These fires caused 3,280 deaths, 15,700 injuries, and $14.3 billion in property damage. Most home fires can be avoided by taking precautions and keeping up with regular cleaning and maintenance checks. Here are 11 tips on protecting your property from going up in flames.
- Make sure the stove is always off and keep children away from active cooking areas.
- Soak cigarette butts in water before tossing them, never just toss a butt into a trash can.
- Use space heaters only in well-ventilated spaces, and keep them at least three feet away from furniture, fabrics, draperies, and other combustible objects.
- Install a spark screen or glass door in front of the fireplace or wood stove to protect the surrounding area from sparks and rolling logs. Check chimneys every year to ensure that creosote hasn’t built up, and never leave a fire unattended.
- Replace all worn or damaged cords right away, never overload extension cords or wall sockets, and don’t position cords under furniture or rugs.
- Blow out the candle flame whenever you leave the area. Never place a lit candle near flammable items like bed sheets and books.
- Flammable liquids like gasoline, kerosene, and propane, should be stored outside in their original containers. Kerosene and propane heaters have a constant open flame and should be kept in an isolated, well-ventilated area.
- Position your grill or fire pit several feet away from your house, making sure it’s away from trees, deck railings, and other structures.
- Make sure hanging lights are insulated from wood paneling or ceiling joists and that portable lamps are placed on a sturdy base that can’t be knocked over. Use bulbs with the right wattage (never over the maximum limit). For extra safety, consider switching to LED bulbs, which produce less heat than incandescent or halogen varieties.
- Your home’s wiring may be faulty if you’re constantly blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers, your lights dim or you have to disconnect one appliance to get another to work. Hire an electrician to inspect your home to make any repairs.
- Lock away matches and lighters. Teach kids that fire isn’t a toy and never leave a young person unattended with stoves, candles, fireplaces, or other flame-producing objects.