As we approach the holidays and start making plans to spend time with family in the comfort of home, it’s important to think about indoor fire safety. Unfortunately, about 3,400 people are killed by indoor fires each year, making it the third-highest cause of death in the home.
Our houses embody everything we love and cherish, so there are a few things you should know about how to prevent fire at home.
Threat #1: Cooking
Stovetop cooking is the leading cause of house fires because people put things on the burner and forget about it. This is more likely to happen when you’re entertaining and distracted by guests and children, a common situation around the holidays. Portable deep fryers, popular for turkeys, pose a significant threat since it just takes a second for the oil to ignite and get out of control.
Do most of your cooking before guests arrive, so your attention won’t be divided between meal prep and partying. If you are planning on deep frying a turkey (which is delicious, by the way), plan to do it outside away from buildings or any materials that can catch fire. An adult should watch the fryer at all times, making sure no children come into contact with it.
Threat #2: Space heaters
Most houses have cold spots, especially if they’re older, and space heaters can provide some much-needed warmth in these areas. But they are also the second leading cause of indoor fires in the home. Because they’re usually placed in corners of living areas and bedrooms, sheets or curtains can quickly ignite and turn into a fire.
Give them space.
When using a space heater, place it more toward the center of a room far away from furniture and drapes. Make sure it has at least three feet of clear space in all directions, and ensure that your space heater has a safety feature where it shuts off if turned over.
Threat #3: Smoking inside
Smoking indoors is the third-most-common cause of home fires and the leading cause of home fire deaths. Enough said.
If you want to light up, make sure you do it outside, away from flammable materials, using a container with water or sand to catch stray ashes and extinguish butts that may still be hot.
Threat #4: Electrical Cords
Frayed or damaged electrical cords are a major source of home fires. When the cord becomes compromised, they can emit sparks that can quickly turn into flames.
Check your cords.
Do a quick check of cords to fans, space heaters, and appliances. Get rid of any cords that have breaks or tears and replace them with new ones. Also, make sure to monitor any power strips where you plug in multiple things at once. They should be uncovered and are best used for items that don’t draw too much energy (like lamps and phone chargers). Large appliances and space heaters should not be plugged into power strips so as not to overload the electrical system.
Threat #5: Candles
Candles create a warm environment when entertaining for the holidays, but they also present a significant fire risk because they are essentially an open flame. It’s too easy to set up a display of glowing candles and turn your back on them to focus on the conversation.
Instead of open-flame candles, consider using a battery-operated candle to generate that festive light. They create the same cozy feeling as real candles without the risk. If you must light candles, always make sure they burn away from material that can catch fire, like tablecloths and drapes. Place them on surfaces where they aren’t likely to be knocked over, and far out of the reach of children.
Guardline cares about the safety of your family and your home. We want to help you protect the things that are most precious to you. Our outdoor motion sensors let you know any time someone is on your property, helping you to stay safe and informed. Our American-based customer service staff is always available to answer your questions.
Until next time, be safe …