An accidental fire can ignite instantaneously, spread within seconds, and engulf a home within minutes. Fortunately, the vast majority of fires can be avoided with some education, preparedness, and common sense. Most people understand the importance of having smoke alarms throughout the home to detect a fire before it starts and alert you of the impending danger. But beyond that, there may be more you can do to minimize the risk of fire in your home.
Five common causes of fire and how to prevent them:
- Kitchen fires – According to the U.S. Fire Administration, cooking causes 50.2% of residential fires1—most often attributed to unattended equipment. Multi-tasking is a way of life for many—but cooking deserves your undivided attention. No matter how busy you are, how many distractions are pulling you away, or how much time you’re trying to save, never leave your food on a heat source unattended. Also, be sure to keep napkins, cardboard packaging, and other flammable materials away from the stove. (That includes your sleeves!) While you’re at it, keep a watchful eye on cooking temps. Fun fact: if you cook oil to its flashpoint, it can spontaneously burst into flames.
- Home renovations – As many as one-third of residential fires are caused by a third party working in the home.2 What’s more, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, structures that are undergoing construction or renovation are at their most vulnerable or weakest condition.3 Though some of these factors may be out of your control, there are some protective measures you can take. To start, require that your worksite is cleaned up at the end of each day with all flammable materials removed. You might also institute a no-smoking policy for any worker on your property. If fire alarms are removed during construction, ensure a temporary alarm with heat sensors is installed on each floor.
- Grills – According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), nearly 9,000 home fires are started by grills each year.4 First and foremost, keep your grill at least 10 feet away from the home or other structures. (That includes tree branches and shrubs). Clean your grill regularly and avoid cooking with excess fats, sauces, or oily marinades. (Though delicious, they are highly flammable.) When cooking with higher-fat foods (think: salmon and steak), keep the lid open.
- Fire pits – Even a tiny ember can cause a damaging backyard fire, particularly in highly wooded yards or under dry conditions. As with your grill, keep your fire pit at a safe distance from your house, low-hanging branches, shrubs, and other structures. Use the right wood (smaller pieces are best), clean the debris often, and cover it with a spark guard to keep loose sparks and embers contained. Don’t use a fuel accelerant to start your fire, and never leave a fire unattended.
- Curtains – Not only are curtains highly flammable, but they usually take up a large portion of your room, vertically and horizontally. That means, once it catches fire, it will spread upward, which will accelerate the blaze. If a curtain is placed anywhere near a fire source, all it takes is a slight breeze or a person walking by for it to ignite. With that in mind, keep your window dressings away from candles, stoves, appliances, irons, and lamps. For an added layer of safety, opt for curtains made with flame retardant fabrics.
Despite the best of intentions, fires happen. We are, after all, only human. Being prepared for the worst-case scenario can mean the difference between life and devastating loss. Above all else, be sure to have the appropriate fire suppression supplies on hand at all times—and know where they are!
At Firefreeze, we’ve been developing innovative fire suppression and fire safety products that help save lives and property for nearly three decades. Our proprietary Cold Fire® extinguishing agent puts out fires instantly by removing the heat, while our Fire Block product prevents the spread of fire in those highly flammable materials.
For more information about our life-saving products, contact us here.