Fires may not be at the forefront of your mind on a day-to-day basis, however, they are more common than you would expect, impacting hundreds of thousands of families each year. To give yourself one less thing to worry about, it’s a good idea to inspect your home for fire hazards and to educate yourself on the best practices for fire detection and safety.
There are many common household products that can cause fires: nail polish remover, hairsprays, aerosol cans, alcohol, bathroom and kitchen cleaners, and rubbing alcohol are just a few examples. While these items are used often, they hold great potential to start fires if kept in dangerous locations. Never keep anything flammable near stoves, furnaces, fireplaces, ovens—anything that generates a large amount of heat or emits an open flame. If you are unsure about a product, read its ingredients and look for a small flame icon on the packaging to be sure you are aware of the potential dangers.
As convenient as modern appliances make everyday life, they can also be quite dangerous. Ovens, furnaces, water heaters, and space heaters can cause fire if not properly cared for, installed, or put away. For example, never leave a space heater on carpet and always be sure to turn the device off when not in the room. These small, but powerful, gadgets can generate enough heat to start a fire when left unattended or left on too long. Additionally, when it comes to larger appliances, it’s important they are installed correctly and are checked regularly. If the oven in your kitchen was installed improperly (a loose connection or faulty plug-in), it could start a fire or lead to sparking with each use. Be sure to check your appliances every few months so you know they’re still working as they should, and if anything seems to be off or out of place, call your installer to come perform a more detailed check or to resolve the issue.
Wiring is a precise and sensitive aspect in many devices, from your TV setup to your home security system to your washer and dryer. It’s incredibly important that as these appliances are installed, the wires that make them run are new, working properly, and installed accurately. Faulty wiring can cause serious problems with your products and worse, they can lead to fires. Any activity from these appliances generates heat from the backend, which is where wires are located. If wires are frayed, broken, cut, or crossed in any other way than intended, this can cause sparks to ignite and puts you and your family at great risk for fire. Be sure to have your installer check the wires before securing items in place, and check your appliances regularly so you know if wires are wearing down or fraying.
Sometimes, it’s easy to get distracted or lazy, especially when you’ve had a long day. However, there are a few things to remember to do to prevent fires from happening—even if they seem trivial. Never leave candles burning overnight or when you’re not home, don’t use ovens as a way to heat a room, don’t keep anything soft, like blankets or pillows, near an open fireplace, and always be sure to put away matches, lighters, or anything that can be used to start a fire.
By being more cautious and following a few basic precautions, you can make your home a safer place for you and your family. And of course, to be as safe as possible, install fire alarms and smoke detectors throughout your home so you’re alerted at the first signs of danger.