Beware Fire Risks: Expert Tips for Preventing Fires in Your Home

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A fire is one of the scariest experiences a homeowner can imagine. Not only do house fires put your life at risk if you don’t have an escape plan, but you may also lose a majority of your belongings — some of which may be hard or even impossible to replace. 

If you have homeowners insurance, you will likely receive compensation for your belongings and even your home itself, no matter your fire protection class rating. However, this money can’t replace valuables or one-of-a-kind items. 

The best way to protect yourself and your belongings is to prevent fires in your home before they begin. Although you can’t avoid every fire, there are many ways you can keep yourself safe and ward off potential fires.

Fire Risks

Practice Safe Cooking to Prevent Fires in Your Home

Cooking is the most common cause of home fires, accounting for about 49% of reported blazes. Practicing safe cooking and being prepared if a fire starts are the most effective ways to avoid a kitchen blaze. 

Wear the Right Clothing When Cooking

Though you may have never thought twice about your outfit before cooking a meal for yourself or your family, what you wear can significantly prevent potential fires. 

Wearing loose-fitting or long clothes can put you at risk for a fire. Your sleeves could dangle too close to your burner and potentially catch ablaze. This goes for gas burners or electric stovetops. 

Instead, wear tight or short-sleeved tops while cooking to prevent your clothing from catching fire.

Clean Your Stove Before You Begin Cooking

Life can get hectic, and certain small cleaning tasks may get swept under the rug for longer than you’d like. One item you should never forget to clean is your stovetop. 

Leftover food, dust, and grease sitting on your stovetop can be a recipe for disaster when you begin cooking. They are highly flammable and could potentially start a fire.  

Keep Your Stovetop Clear of Possible Combustibles 

While cooking, it’s essential to remove any combustible items. Common flammable kitchen objects are typically oven mitts, towels, or food packaging. These items risk catching fire if they are too close to your burner. 

Try to create a safe radius around your stovetop, free of any potential combustibles. This way, nothing accidentally gets set too close to your hot burners. 

Don’t Leave Your Food Unattended While Cooking

Some recipes may make you feel like you can set them and forget them, taking time to complete other tasks while they finish cooking. However, leaving items unattended on your stove can be a considerable fire risk.

An unattended stove doesn’t take long to catch fire and blaze through your kitchen. If you’re cooking, no matter how boring it may seem, always watch over what you’re cooking to prevent potential fires.

Pay Special Attention on Holidays and Large Gatherings

Even if you’re aware of all cooking safety tips, there may be some days — like holidays — when you’re so overwhelmed by guests and tasks they could slip your mind. Thanksgiving is the most common holiday for kitchen fires, as everyone is not only cooking an abundance of food but also often distracted by their family and friends. 

Although it’s easy to get caught up in the moment, it’s essential to remember to practice safe cooking. Keeping family and friends away from the kitchen while setting up the Thanksgiving table and preparing your holiday dinner or limiting your cooking to one or two dishes at a time can help you maintain focus and better prevent kitchen fires. 

Keep the Right Tools Near Your Kitchen

When all fire prevention fails, and you still find yourself dealing with a kitchen blaze, the right tools can make all the difference. Fire extinguishers and smoke detectors are lifesavers when a fire begins. 

Keep multiple fire extinguishers close to your kitchen, and be sure you know how to use them. This tool can stop a blaze from spreading and quickly extinguish it, causing only minor damage.

Smoke detectors can alert you to possible fires quickly and efficiently. You can even program some of these tools to call emergency responders when there is a problem, saving you valuable time.

Pay Attention to Flammable Everyday Items in Your Home

You may not realize how many items in your home pose fire risks. However, many things you likely use frequently could potentially cause a home fire.

Items like candles, space heaters, and hot hair tools are commonly left unattended without a second thought. This is highly unsafe, as all these objects pose a significant fire risk.

Leaving flammable materials close to these items, such as curtains, towels, or clothing, can cause a house fire quickly. If left unattended, the fire could spread at a rapid rate. 

Always unplug hair tools or heaters before leaving a room. Even if you feel confident you have turned them off, the safest choice is to unplug them. 

Check your candles to ensure they are extinguished if you plan to leave your home or go to another room. Placing the lid on your candles is an excellent way to ensure the flame is completely out. 

Ensure Your Home’s Wiring Is Safe

Electrical wiring is a common cause of home fires. Outdated wiring poses a severe hazard and should be replaced immediately. 

Though it may be challenging to be certain if your electrical wiring is faulty, there are some common signs.

  • Burning smell near electrical outlets or panels
  • Discoloration on electrical outlets
  • Frequent circuit breaker trips
  • Frequent flickering lights

These are some of the most common signs of electrical issues. If you notice any of these problems, it’s best to call a professional and have them examine your wiring. 

Don’t try to tackle electrical problems yourself. You could potentially cause more damage to your home and even start a fire while attempting to prevent one. 

Fire Safety Prevention in Your Home

Experiencing a home fire is something everyone would like to prevent. Filing fire insurance claims may take a few months and damage to potentially irreplaceable items lost to fires is challenging to overcome.

Although it’s impossible to prevent every potential fire, there are some ways you can keep your home, your belongings, and of course, yourself protected. Practicing safe cooking, paying attention to flammable items in your home, and ensuring your wiring is up to date will help you lessen your chances of experiencing a home fire.  

Author Bio:

Alexandra Arcand writes and researches for the insurance comparison site, Clearsurance.com. She is an insurance and fire safety expert. She is also married to a firefighter, so she understands the damage fires can cause.