These Are the Most Common Causes of House Fires

According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), there were 1,318,500 fires in 2018 alone. There were also 3,655 fire-related deaths that year.

Part of keeping your home safe is practicing good fire safety. The first step in doing so is learning about the common causes of house fires and how to avoid them.

In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know to keep your home and family safe, and we’ll also teach you what to do after a house fire.

Cooking Fires

Around 66% of home kitchen fires begin when food or other cooking materials catches on fire. Unattended cooking equipment also accounts for roughly one-third of home cooking fires.

When cooking in the kitchen, never leave a pot or dish in the oven unattended. Since it’s easy to get distracted, try setting a timer to remind you that you have something on the burner or in the oven.

Practice good kitchen safety tips when cooking to prevent this common cause of house fires. Knowing how to extinguish a fire can prevent costly damage and even save your life!

Make sure you know the difference between grease and electrical fires. Understand that smothering or “suffocating” the fire is often the best way to handle electric or grease fires.

It pays to keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, but you also need to know how to use it.

Electrical Fires

Speaking of electrical fires, this is another of the most dangerous types of house fires. Knowing what to do when you encounter an electric fire is key to preventing damage and staying safe.

Faulty wiring is one of the most common reasons electrical fires start. They usually happen due to a short circuit and sparking/arcing. These sparks can catch other materials on fire, which can be very dangerous if you don’t catch the fire right away.

Modern electrical systems have many types of safety features built-in, but older wiring and improperly installed wiring can cause electrical fires.

What are some other reasons for electrical fires? Using frayed or damaged cords, overloading circuits, and using too many extension cords all put you at risk.

Unattended Candles

We love candles for their warm glow and fragrances, but candles can quickly become a danger if left unattended. Roughly 8,200 home fires start each year as a result of candles and homeowners not being careful enough.

If you burn candles, make sure to keep an eye on them. Never leave them unattended, and never burn them around anything that might catch fire. Additionally, make sure children and pets can’t reach or touch burning candles to avoid injuries and fires.

Make sure not to burn candles for longer than four hours and that they’re not getting too hot. To avoid candles getting too hot, never burn them all the way down to the bottom. It’s recommended that you stop using a candle after about 1/2 inch remains in the jar or container, or roughly two inches down for pillar candles.

You should also always place candles on a flat surface and ensure they can’t get bumped or knocked over. Before you go to bed or leave the house, always make sure you have extinguished all candles.

Space Heaters

Portable space heaters are yet another common cause of house fires. Kerosene heaters are especially risky because they can tip over, ignite, or even blow up if not properly used.

Electrical heaters can also pose threats, as fabrics and curtains can block the coils or overheat and catch on fire.

Many homeowners use space heaters to stay toasty in the colder months, but it’s important to know how to use them. Keep anything flammable far away, use them on a flat surface to avoid tipping them over, and keep them several feet away from other objects.

Real Christmas Trees

Although real Christmas trees look and smell fantastic, they do dry up over time. Dry trees are a fire risk, as sparks, embers, and any open flames can cause these trees to catch fire.

Although fires from holiday trees aren’t as common anymore, they can still happen. Even artificial trees aren’t completely safe, as electrical fires can occasionally start.

Never leave trees lit while you’re sleeping or away from home.

Around the holiday season, many homeowners also light up their fireplaces. Unfortunately, fireplace fires can affect the air quality, and they also pose an even greater threat when you position your Christmas tree too close.

Outdoor Grills

If you live in an area with a wildfire season, you have to be particularly careful about cooking on your grill. Outdoor fires can catch grass, trees, other objects, and even your house on fire if you’re not careful.

To stay safe, it’s important to keep an eye on it and to only use the grill away from the house and other structures. Make sure children and pets stay away from the grill while it’s cooking to prevent injuries and accidents, and always keep your grill clean to avoid grease fires.

What to Do After a House Fire

If you do find yourself facing a fire at home, it’s important you know how to handle the situation. Make sure you have the right type of fire extinguisher in your home and also ensure you know how to use it.

If a fire gets out of control, get out of the house immediately and call 9-1-1 or the fire department.

No one wants to deal with a house fire, which is why knowing how to practice fire safety is so important. If your house does sustain damage, you may need a post fire restoration service.

Avoid These Common Causes of House Fires

Now that you know some of the most common causes of house fires, you can protect your home and your family. Practice fire safety and always make sure you know how to handle an emergency if it happens.

If you’re interested in learning more about protecting your home or other great lifestyle advice, be sure to check out the rest of our site for more like this.