Did you know that fire departments in the United States respond to fire incidents every 24 seconds?
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), more than a quarter (26%) of the total number of fire incidents in the U.S. occur in homes. One civilian sustains a fire-related injury every 32 minutes, and one civilian dies due to fire incidents every 142 minutes.
The average number of home fires that occur every year is 358,500, according to the NFPA as well. Due to these alarming numbers, it helps know the common causes of house fires to avoid damage and loss of lives.
Most Common Causes of House Fires
According to the NFPA, the following are the most common causes of house fires in the U.S.:
As surprising as it is, cooking is the first on the list of the most common sources of house fires in the U.S. It accounts for approximately 49% of the total residential fires from 2013 to 2017.
Although it’s easy to avoid, residents still commit the same mistake of leaving their kitchens unattended when cooking. Fire-related incidents due to cooking happen year-round, but the peak day of cooking fires occurs during Thanksgiving Day every year. Open flames are also among the causes of cooking fires.
Food and kitchen tools with grease easily catch fire, which is why house fires that begin in kitchens spread quickly.
2. Heating Equipment
During the winter season, residential homes use space heaters and furnaces to regulate indoor temperatures. Not only do these pieces of heating equipment make residential spaces warm and cozy, but they also can cause house fires when left unattended. Furthermore, fire incidents from heating equipment are also among the top contributors to the total number of house fires in the U.S.
Some common mistakes that homeowners make include:
- Leaving space heaters or other heating equipment on when not at home.
- Placing home furnishings, such as carpet and draperies, too close to heating equipment.
- Leaving heating equipment unattended without turning it off and letting it cool.
3. Faulty Wiring
Poorly installed, damaged, or outdated wiring at home also makes it on top of the common causes of house fires. Over time, wires wear down and get damaged. When they break, they can potentially cause a fire.
Some signs that your home has faulty wiring include:
- Circuit Breaker Trips
- Buzzing, Dimming, or Flickering Lights
- Chewed or Frayed Wiring
- Discolored or Scored Outlets
- Vibrating or Warm Outlets
- Presence of Smoke
- Odd Burning Smell from Outlets
4. Christmas Trees
Believe it or not, but Christmas trees are also a leading source of fires in houses. According to the NFPA, fires caused by Christmas trees are responsible for approximately $14.8 million yearly property damage.
When not watered enough, real trees become brittle and dry, making them highly flammable. Even the artificial ones can be a victim to overheating lights when placed near a heat source, such as furnaces or bonfires.
5. Smoking Materials
Lighters, match sticks, and cigarettes may be small, but they can cause large fires in houses. Along with other smoking materials, these things make it on the list of the common causes of residential fires in the U.S.
House fires that start in the bedroom are one of the top causes of fire-related fatalities. Usually, these fire incidents result from recklessness, such as not putting cigarettes out after smoking indoors.
The butts of cigarettes stay alit for hours and can cause fires when they get in contact with furniture, wood flooring, curtains, bedsheets, and other flammable objects inside a bedroom.
Although candles are a less common fire starter, they are on the list of the leading causes of house fires in the U.S. Often, fire incidents from candles are a result of people’s negligence.
Whether setting the ambiance or light source during power outages, never forget to blow out candles before bed or leaving the house. Not doing so will result in an unwanted yet preventable tragedy.
Malfunctioning appliances are not only a source of annoyance — but they are also a source of danger. According to a report provided by the NFPA, home fires caused by home appliances led to $7 billion worth of damages in 2015.
Home appliances can cause electric sparks, which can ignite a fire. The six most common appliances that cause more fire incidents than others are:
Tips for Preventing House Fires
Since house fires cause structural damage and fatalities, it’s essential to know how to prevent them from happening. Here are some preventive measures to take:
- Inspect smoke alarms regularly.
- Inspect all heating equipment daily.
- Keep stoves and ovens grease-free.
- Don’t leave the kitchen unattended.
- Maintain all electrical wires and cords.
- Store flammable products properly.
- Keep fire extinguishers within reach.
- Keep an eye on children and pets, especially when there are lit candles around.
- Inspect all home appliances regularly.
Although you can take preventive measures, there’s still a chance for house fires to occur. When they happen, the first thing to do is to evacuate to a safe place. You want you and your family unharmed, so leave before the fire gets bigger.
Call Deep Water Emergency Services & Restoration for Help
If you’ve recently lived through a devastating house fire, Deep Water Emergency Services & Restoration is here to help you.
We provide fire damage restoration services to reinstate your property and its contents to their pre-fire condition. Our team understands how time is of the essence when dealing with damages brought about by house fires, so we always provide a speedy response. We also offer fire and water damage restoration services in Dallas, TX. For inquiries, don’t hesitate to give us a call.