It’s every homeowner’s worst nightmare. You’re going about your usual day, nothing out of the ordinary, when a fire suddenly breaks out. What do you do in these situations? Obviously, making sure you have proper safety equipment, like a fire extinguisher, and calling the authorities for assistance right away is essential. Yet the best way to handle fire damage is always to make sure it doesn’t happen in the first place. Keep reading to learn the most common places for fire damage to occur in your home, so you can be prepared if an accident does happen. And remember, for all your fire damage restoration services, you can count on our team at FP Property Restoration.
6 Common Places for Fire to Occur in the Home
- Your Kitchen: As we’ve discussed on our blog before, kitchen fires are among the most frequent housefires across America. This is because there are so many things that can cause a kitchen fire. From an unwatched stove to mishandled grease, it is extremely important to keep an eye on your kitchen equipment, no matter what you are doing. You should also be careful of what you put on hot surfaces, avoid wearing baggy sleeves/clothing, and NEVER try to heat your home using your oven.
- Your Bedroom: A lot of people light candles in the bedroom, while others (no matter how unsafe it may be) like to smoke in bed. But one of the lesser-known causes of bedroom fires is electrical wiring. In fact, 15% of all electrical fires start in the bedroom. Making matters even worse, many of these fires begin while homeowners are sleeping, therefore exponentially increasing their potential for destruction. Make sure to watch out when using any appliances that have cords in your bedroom, especially space heaters and electric blankets. You should also replace old/worn down outlets, minimize extension cord use, avoid plugging in too many devices at the same time, and place space heaters at least three feet away from anything flammable (or just don’t use space heaters at all, since they are notorious fire hazards.) If you have children, it is even more important to keep an eye out for potential electrical fires, as some kids like to play around with dangerous objects, and children may not be aware of just how flammable their bedding and carpeting is.
- Your Living Room: There are several kinds of heating equipment that may cause a fire in your living room, including the aforementioned space heaters. However, fireplaces and chimneys are the big ones you need to look out for, as they bring actual flames into your home. Make sure to have your chimney cleaned before you fire it up again in winter, and keep all furniture at least three feet away from heat sources. You should also make sure there is always a screen on your fireplace, and never leave your fire unattended. Finally, make sure to use the proper fuel source for fireplaces and wood stoves, and if you have kids or pets, keep them away from this equipment at all times.
- Your Attic/Crawlspace: Attics and crawlspaces tend to be filled with items you forget about—which means many tend to forget about these spaces, too. The problem is that people often keep a ton of flammable stuff in their attic or crawlspace, including boxes full of old photos, papers, or clothing. 13% of electrical fires begin in these overlooked areas, and 88% of said electrical fires are due to old/malfunctioning equipment. This is why it’s a good idea to hire an electrician to inspect your home’s wiring and larger electrical system if you live in an older house. An experienced, licensed electrician can tell you whether you need to replace your equipment/wiring, if you have received any shoddy electrical work in the past, or if there are any hidden electrical hazards in your home. While electrical work can be expensive, trust us, it’s much better than paying for repairs and clean-up following an electrical fire.
- Your Laundry Room: When fireproofing their home, a lot of people overlook the laundry room. But you may be surprised to know that 4% of all household fires begin in this space. Why? Because of dryer fires. Dryer fires are sadly very common, and account for a whopping 92% of all laundry room fires. To avoid laundry room/dryer fires, make sure to follow manufacturer’s instructions and don’t over-stuff your machines, check that your appliances are plugged into outlets that can handle their voltage, and clean your dryer’s exhaust fans and ducts once or twice a year. You may also want to hire a professional technician to inspect your washer/dryer set-up, as they can help you make safety upgrades, like replacing plastic venting material with flexible metal. And of course, always – ALWAYS – clean out the lint catcher between loads. This simple task prevents more dryer fires a year than we can possibly know.
- Your Yard/Patio/Porch: While these areas aren’t technically “in” your home, the outside parts of your house contain as much or more flammable material than anywhere on your property. 4% of housefires start in yards, patios, and porches, usually because of dry vegetation or malfunctioning equipment like grills, smokers, and fire pits. Make sure all the aforementioned equipment is placed at least ten feet from your property when in use, always clean these devices when you are done with them, and keep them away from any dry vegetation. Speaking of which, make sure to also water your plants/lawn regularly, trim any overgrown vegetation, and do not drag any equipment over dry areas that could cause a spark. It is also a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher in the backyard, as well as a bucket you can fill up with water. Last but not least, when dealing with any kind of fire of controlled burn, make sure the flames are completely extinguished before you go back inside.