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6 Most Common Causes of House Fires

House damaged by disaster

No one wants to deal with the devastating disaster that is a house fire. The flames can not only be severely damaging to your home’s structure and any personal belongings inside of it, but fires also pose a serious threat to people’s safety. Because of this, it is imperative that you evacuate your home promptly in the event of a fire. The safety of you and others is more important than anything else that could be harmed by a fire.

Once the fire has been extinguished, people often feel a sense of relief — and understandably so. However, the damage is not done there. Smoke, soot, and other corrosive byproducts continue to linger and spread throughout the home even after the flames are out. This adds on to the amount of damage done to your home, increasing the necessary fire restoration work.

Cooking Pan on Fire

Fortunately, with the right knowledge and actions, you can prevent house fires from happening in your home. When you are aware of how house fires usually occur, then you can have a better awareness of fire safety and prevention — thus limiting the potential for a fire in your home.

Continue reading to learn more about the most common causes of house fires and how to prevent them.

1. Cooking

The use of high heat, open flames, and oils can make cooking a dangerous activity that easily leads to a cooking fire.  This is especially the case when cooking food is left unsupervised because it only takes a moment for something to go wrong and ignite a fire. For example, food can overheat and burn, eventually causing a fire. Tools can also catch on fire and spread the flames elsewhere.

Cooking is a necessity, so make sure you exercise caution when preparing food. Never leave the stove, oven, and other appliances unattended when they are in use. Additionally, keep flammable items away from the stove, and turn pot handles inward so they do not stick out on the stove.

2. Heaters and Other Appliances

Heaters and other similar heat-producing appliances are also among the top causes for house fires. If personal belongings and household items are placed too close to heating systems, then they can cause the contents to catch fire. This makes it easy for the flames to spread elsewhere throughout your home. Knowing this, refrain from putting items too close to your home’s heater and any other heat-producing appliances you may have.

3. Candles

Whether used for subtle lighting or to scent a room with a pleasant aroma, candles must always be used with caution. Similar to cooking appliances, candles should never be left unattended when in use. So if you are leaving a room that has a lit candle, put out the flame beforehand.

To decrease the potential for a house fire caused by candles, cut down the wick so that the flame is not as high or large. Additionally, consider using battery-operated candles instead if you use them for lighting purposes.

4. Christmas TreesChristmas Tree in Front of Burning Fire

Putting up a real Christmas tree is a great way to get into the holiday spirit, but it can lead to a house fire if you do not properly maintain it. This is one reason why artificial trees are preferable for safety purposes. However, if you do get a real tree, commit to the work it requires.

Real trees dry out, and that combined with string lights can create a fire hazard. Because of this, real Christmas trees need to be kept hydrated. It also is important to turn the lights off during the night when you are going to sleep.

5. Smoking

If you or anyone else in your house smokes, then exercise caution while doing so. Dropping a lit cigarette can quickly lead to a fire breaking out in your home, so it is best to smoke outside.

6. Accidents by Children

Children have an innate curiosity, so they may have instances where they are playing or messing around with something they should not have, such as lighters or matches. Knowing this, keep dangerous items out of your children’s reach, and teach them about their hazards and fire safety. Educating them on the subject will not only limit the potential for children to cause an accidental fire, but it can also give you some peace of mind knowing they have the information.

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If a house fire occurs in your home, then act immediately. Evacuate your home, and then call your local fire department to have the fire extinguished. Once the flames are out, do not hesitate to address the fire damage promptly. The harm will only worsen with time and will become irreversible. That said, seek fire damage restoration help as soon as possible.

ServiceMaster provides professional fire damage restoration services for homes and businesses in the southeastern Nebraska and southwestern Iowa areas. Our professional technicians have the knowledge and equipment needed to provide effective fire damage cleanup, repairs, and restoration work.

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