Avoid These 8 Fire-Starting Habits

According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S fire Departments respond to an average of 1000 fires daily however, the majority can be avoided by following some simple steps. Here is a short list of fire hazards to avoid.

1. Walking away from food cooking in the kitchen

Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires as it only takes a few seconds for abandoned cooking to catch fire.

2. Leaving lit candles unattended

It sounds simple but deems repeatition considering how much damage even a single votive can do. Candles can easily be knocked over so, use sturdy holders and extinguish them before leaving the room.

3. Leaving electrical appliances running while not home

Never leave electrical appliances running if you are not going to be home.  The only exception to this rule are crock pots which do not produce enough heat to burn.

4. Crowding appliances

Electrical appliances need space around them to dissipate the heat they produce.  All major appliances should be plugged directly into a wall outlet. Multiple appliances on one outlet risks overloading the wiring which puts you at risk for an electrical fire. Appliances can overheat so, sign up to get recall notices on your major appliances at Recalls.gov.

5. Daisy-chaining extension cords

Connecting multiple cords can short circuit them and can result in a fire.  Extension chords are usually meant to be a temporary solution. Contact a professional electrician if you need to have outlets installed.  Never assume that your power strip has built-in surge protection. Power strips are not designed to regulate power flow or block surges. Look for plugs that list UL, CSA-US or ETL-US marked.

6. Using worn out electrical cords or plugs

Using compromised cords can cause electric shock as well as increase your fire risk if heat from the wires comes in contact with anything that can burn.  Replace cords if compromised. Don’t take any chances.

7. Ignoring the lint in your dryer

According to the USFA, 2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year and cause $35 million in property loss. Thirty-four percent of those blazes were caused because the homeowner didn’t clean the dryer. Lint that collects on the filter, around the drum, and in the vents, can catch fire from the heat of the dryer.

8. Not cleaning the chimney

Creosote, the oily substance that builds up when you burn things in your fireplace, is a leading cause of chimney fires.  Have chimneys inspected on a yearly basis and cleaned as needed.