Common Reasons for Fires and Fire Prevention

A home or business can take less than 2 minutes from the moment a fire starts before the it is fully engulfed in flames, according to The National Fire Protection Association who says that there are 360,000 fires in homes each year with $6-8 BILLION in damages every year, largely due to preventable fires!

In January 2015, 4 grandchildren and 2 grandparents all died when a Christmas tree started on fire in a 16,000 square foot mansion in Maryland. This devastating loss could have been avoided by implementing some safety strategies that every family needs to take care of now, BEFORE a tragedy occurs. To offer you some help, we list ways you can prevent this from happening to your family in the second half of this article.

Most common reasons for household fires:

  • • Food on stove left unattended; stove left on; cooking fires, such as grease fires

  • • Candles burning in an unoccupied room, left unattended, near flammable items, fell asleep

  • • Christmas tree, lights, decorations

  • • Faulty wiring, electricity broken somewhere

  • • Burdened electrical connections; too much plugged into one outlet

  • • Lighting or appliance malfunctions

  • • Smoking indoors (cigarettes, cigars, etc)

  • • Overheated light bulb

  • • Space heater

  • • Washer/Dryer not cleaned, maintained, and checked properly

  • • Vents, chimneys, air ducts, etc blockages in ventilation systems that need to be kept clean and clear

  • • Not using spark screens for fireplaces

  • • Flammable appliances too close to flammable household items, such as curtains too close to fire, frayed electrical wire on Christmas tree, etc

  • • Lightning strikes (disconnect all electrical wires)

  • • Kids playing with fire (Statistics show that 83% of fires are started by boys with most under age 6 in bedrooms in July, and that older children generally start fires outside, with only 8% in kitchens and 6% in living rooms or dens)

Preventative solutions for fire safety:
  1. 1) Install an indoor sprinkler system in every room.
  2. 2) Make sure there is a fire hydrant outside your home or business.
  3. 3) Provide fire extinguishers in every room with quick and easy access in an emergency
  4. 4) Install smoke alarms (carbon dioxide as well).
  5. 5) Connect escape ladders from upstairs rooms.
  6. 6) Turn off lights and tree lights and candles and unplug as much as possible before leaving or going to sleep.
  7. 7) Check electrical wiring and cords to make sure that none are frayed once a month.
  8. 8) Clean out the dryer, dryer vent, the lint vent, and clean around the dryer and wipe off the refrigerator coils. Make sure vents are pointing outside the house as they should and clean the screen that is inside the house to keep them free of debris.
  9. 9) Make sure there are no leaks in the gas/propane lines.
  10. 10) Hire us to clean the vents, grates, flue, and air ducts for your boiler or furnace.
  11. 11) Replace your mattress if it is a bed from before 2007 because they are now made to be less flammable. There are also other non-flammable furnishings and fire resistant building materials that you can use.

    Did you know there are different types of fire extinguishers? (See below for details.)
    Types of Fire Extinguishers

    Different types of fire extinguishers are designed to fight different types of fire. The three most common types of fire extinguishers are:

    1) Air pressurized water

    2) CO2 (carbon dioxide)

    3) Dry chemical.

    The following table provides information regarding the type of fire and which fire extinguisher should be used.

    Type A: Water
    For: Ordinary Combustibles
    Fires in paper, cloth, wood, rubber, and many plastics require a water type extinguisher labeled A.

    Type B: CO2
    For: Flammable Liquids
    Fires in oils, gasoline, some paints, lacquers, grease, solvents, and other flammable liquids require an extinguisher labeled B.

    Type C: Dry Chemical
    For: Electrical Equipment
    Fires in wiring, fuse boxes, energized electrical equipment, computers, and other electrical sources require an extinguishers labeled C.

    Type A, B, or C: Multi-Purpose
    For: Ordinary Combustibles, Flammable Liquids, or Electrical Equipment
    Multi-purpose dry chemical is suitable for use on class A, B, or C.

    Class D
    For: Metals
    Fires involving powders, flakes, or shavings of combustible metals such as magnesium, titanium, potassium, and sodium require special extinguishers labeled D.

    Class K
    For: Kitchen Fires
    Fires involving combustible cooking fluids such as oils and fats require a class K fire extinguisher.

    NOTE: Your present fire extinguishing equipment may not put out a fire involving vegetable oil in your deep fat fryer.

    Adults should practice using fire extinguishers so that the first time you go to use it is not in the chaos under stress when your home or business is on fire!

    Also, a few more very important notes for parents:

    1) Teach kids not to hide from firefighters coming into the home to save their lives!
    2) Teach kids what to do and what not to do at home, including how to call 911.
    3) Practice 2 evacuation routes and a family meet up location.

    If you get caught in a room unable to escape and you have to wait for firemen to come save you, cover the vents so that smoke doesn’t take over the room, get down as low as possible on the floor, to buy you more time… These tips might save your life someday!

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