Fire prevention is an important topic. It is something that children, nannies, and parents need to be educated about, especially as we head into the winter season. While home fires can happen at any time, they are most common during the fall and winter, with most occurring in December and January.
Fire is a serious threat in the home as fire kills eight people each week in Canada, with residential fires accounting for 73% of these fatalities.
The good news is that most fires are preventable. In light of Fire Prevention Week (running from October 9th – 16th), we thought now is a great time to talk about the dangers of fire and preventative steps you can take to keep your kids and your home safe.
Eye Opening Stats About Fire
The National Fire Protection Association has put together a collection of stats that communicate just how dangerous and common fires can be.
- Fire departments respond to a fire every 23 seconds
- There are more than 360,000 home structure fires each year
- 1,345,500 fires were reported in the U.S. in 2015, resulting in:
- 3,280 deaths
- 15,700 injuries
- $14.3 billion in property damage
What Are the Most Common Causes of House Fires?
The cause of most house fires will not shock you, but what is shocking is that occurrences of these fires are on the rise.
According to the American Red Cross:
“Home fires are more likely to start in the kitchen than any other room in the home. The second leading cause of home fires are heating sources like wood stoves and fireplaces.
Fires caused by smoking are the leading cause of deaths.”
This is echoed by Damon Gersh, President and CEO of Maxons Restorations, Inc. in an article on Property Casualty 360:
“From my experience, the five most preventable causes are cooking-related fires, unattended candles, burdened electrical connections, lighting/appliance malfunctions and
smoking cigarettes or cigars.”
Here is a list of the some of the other common causes of fires
- Candles: There is an average of 29 candle fires per day
- Smoking: An average of 17,600 smoking-related fires per year
- Electrical and lighting: Caused 47,700 home structure fires in 2011 alone
- Dryers and washing machines: Caused 16,800 home structure fires in 2010
- Lightning: One of the few unpreventable causes of house fires
- Children playing with fire: Children start an average of 7,100 home fires per year
- Christmas trees: 230 fires are attributed to Christmas trees each year
- Cooking: This is the number one source of house fires – the cause of 40% of all house fires
Stats courtesy of Property Casualty 360
Home Fire Safety Tips
With instances of home fires on the rise and no shortage of potential causes, it’s important to educate children at an early age about the dangers of fire.
Here are some home fire safety tips to share.
We’ve broken down these tips by room.
Kitchen Fire Safety Tips
The kitchen is one of the most commonly used rooms in your house. It also has a large number of fire threats:
- Never leave the stove unattended
- Make sure you have a fire extinguisher nearby
- Keep a pot cover close by so you can put a lid on the fire if one occurs
- Avoid wearing long sleeves and other garments that could catch fire
- Make sure to turn off all burners and the oven when you are finished cooking
Living Room Fire Safety Tips
The living room or family room is another common area for fires. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Always put a screen on your fireplace. Have your chimney cleaned annually
- If you have an electric or gas fireplace, make sure to keep flammable items at a safe distance
- Never leave candles unattended
- Avoid overloading electrical outlets and power bars
- Never leave cigarettes unattended
- Keep space heaters a safe distance from drapes and other potentially flammable materials
Bedroom Fire Safety Tips
Sleep tight at night by following these fire prevention tips:
- Make sure at least one smoke alarm is installed outside of each sleeping area in your home
- Make sure to use space heaters, electric blankets, and other electronic devices according to manufacturer instructions
- All bedrooms should be non-smoking areas
The Basement and Garage Fire Safety Tips
Commonly overlooked areas of your home, they are most commonly known for fires due to poor storage of flammable products. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Remove all flammable items from the basement
- Never store propane tanks indoors
- Have your furnace inspected by a professional annually
- All flammable materials and chemicals should be stored in proper containers away from possible ignition sources
- Install a fire extinguisher in the garage and in the basement
Have a Fire Escape Plan
Perhaps the most important piece of advice is to have a fire escape plan for your home. Sit down with your family and go through the plan in detail. Talk about where to go, who will call 911, how to exit the home, and where to meet once you are safely outside of the home. Being proactive and having a fire escape plan can save your family’s life.
Following these tips will help make your home safer for everyone. Teaching your children about the dangers of fire, common things that can cause a fire and what to do in the event of a fire will help reduce the odds of a fire occurring in your home.
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