Recognizing Fire Hazards in Your Home
Recognizing fire hazards in your home and being proactive about addressing them is an important part of being a homeowner. In this article, we’ll cover a few of the most overlooked fire dangers you can address in order to create a much safer home for you and your loved ones.
Extension cords are often a necessary addition to the home, but one that can pose a real threat. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, “Roughly 3,300 home fires originate in extension cords each year, killing 50 people and injuring about 270 more.” But there are ways to use them safely and effectively. First, check for potential dangers. Cords that are overloaded can lead to overheating that causes fires. You should know how many watts your extension cord can handle before plugging things in. Make sure cords aren’t pinched in doors, windows, or under heavy furniture, which could damage the cord’s insulation. Never use a cord that appears in any way damaged, and never staple cords to walls or run them through walls or ceilings, or under carpets.
Fireplace safety should be a top priority for homeowners. Over time, chimneys collect soot and debris that can reignite after the blaze has died down. Additionally, fireplaces can throw off sparks that catch on nearby rugs, curtains, and other flammable materials in the home. The National Fire Protection Association suggests that homeowners schedule annual chimney sweeps at least once a year. It also helps to sweep out the hearth once the fireplace is completely cool, removing any ashes or debris that have accumulated.
Dryer Hookups are an often overlooked fire hazard in the home, causing dryer fires that start when lint builds up near the heating elements, where temperatures can reach up to 550 degrees. You’ll want to clean the lint trap and vent pipe in your dryer on a regular basis, as the buildup can ignite and cause fires.
Space heaters can be extremely dangerous, and are among the leading causes of home fires in the United States. The best option is, of course, to avoid having a space heater in your home altogether. But if you can’t forgo it, the next best option is to buy one with a timer that allows you to set the heat to shut off after a certain amount of time. The scheduled shut-off can help prevent overheating that could lead to a fire.
Ovens and other cooking equipment are another cause of not only home structure fires, but also home fire injuries. There are now many smart stove devices that will automatically turn off when they detect gas or smoke. Some can even be connected to your smartphone so that you can monitor and react to fire hazards in real time. Cleaning stove tops and ovens regularly can also reduce grease and other buildup that cause fires. Of course, it’s a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergency.
Taking steps to tackle these common fire hazards can go a long way toward keeping your loved ones and your valuables safe. To learn more about protecting your home from fires, visit BenderHatch.com.
"ESFI Extension Cord Safety." Electrical Safety Foundation International. February 19, 2015. Accessed June 04, 2019. https://www.esfi.org/resource/extension-cord-safety-336.
"Top Causes of Fire." NFPA. Accessed June 04, 2019. https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Top-causes-of-fire.