It's a sad fact that most of the fatalities and injuries caused by fires in the home are easily preventable. The rate of deaths resulting from home fires is falling, but thousands of families still suffer these tragedies every year. Simple steps like checking smoke alarms and raising awareness of the dangers of fires in the home can dramatically reduce the risk to your family.
1) Cooking equipment
Cooking remains the main cause of residential fires in the developed world. It's believed as many as forty percent start in the kitchen. Overheating pots or pans can lead to fires in seconds. Kitchen fires are often the result of leaving pans unattended or becoming distracted. Investigations often reveal that combustible materials stored too close to cooking areas are what allow fires to take hold so quickly. Having a fire blanket in your kitchen is a simple step towards improved fire safety.
2) Electrical equipment
Modern homes are filled with electrical appliances for entertainment and convenience, and it's no surprise that these are another common cause of house fires. Overloading mains sockets can be extremely dangerous. Frayed wires and other obvious faults should be dealt with by a qualified electrician. Always consider the potential hazards of running cables under carpets or rugs. Do-it-yourself electrical projects, such as wiring lights in an extension, are another common cause of fires.
3) Heating equipment
Fixed heaters and radiators are generally very safe so long as they are maintained and inspected regularly. If you use portable heaters to warm your harm, always keep them a safe distance from furniture, curtains and other combustible materials. Hundreds of fires are caused every week by people drying clothes on heaters.
In addition to the fire hazards, some heaters also carry a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Detectors should be fitted around your home if you use gas heaters.
As well as the potential health hazards such as cancer and lung disease, smokers have an increased risk of suffering a fire at their home. Smoking in the bedroom is one of the most common causes. Leaving ashtrays unattended with burning cigarettes and allowing ash and debris to build up means increased risk of a fire starting.
5) Children playing with matches
These can be particularly tragic cases of domestic fires. Young children are drawn to fire and matches, and the consequences can be fatal. Fires can result from simple curiosity or a desire to express anger and frustration. Talk to your children about the hazards of playing with fire, and look out for any signs that they have been tempted to experiment with matches or lighters.
6) Faulty wiring
All properties should have regular wiring checks to minimise the risk of faults or wear and tear leading to a fire. If you buy an older property, arrange for the wiring to be checked as soon as you move in. Faulty lights and sockets and fuses blowing are all warning signs that there may be a problem with your home's wiring.
7) Christmas trees
It's a sad fact that domestic fires increase around Christmas. This is sometimes due to candles setting light to things, but lights on Christmas trees are one of the main causes. Check your lights each year and replace them if you have any doubts they are safe.
At the Robert Nichols Insurance Group, we want to make sure you DON'T have an insurance claim, but just in case, we'll make sure you're properly covered. If you're not sure about your current homeowners insurance give us a call or get a quote today!