Ashes, ashes, we all fall down. This is the ending to the child’s game Ring Around the Rosie. Although this song is about the deadly nature of the black plague from the turn of the century, today’s world holds another threat that will quickly turn us to ashes as well. The house fire.
Every year in America over 200,000 homes are destroyed by fires. Though the US Fire Administration under FEMA has reported a decline in the number of house fires since 2005 they have noticed an increase in the number of fires started by human negligence.
The top 10 causes of home fires are:
Often unattended grease will spatter and ignite. make sure you are following the proper cooking procedures as delineated by your food and pans. More than half of all residential fires in the U.S. are attributed to kitchen accidents. These fires are more likely to occur in the evening hours and place more of the family at risk than during the day.
Have your space heaters inspected yearly. Use a carbon monoxide detector to find malfunctions. never use your heater as a dryer for fabrics. Heaters are responsible for 150 deaths a year and ignite over 50,000 fires annually.
Discarded cigaret buds are notorious for sparking fires in cushions and especially mattresses. 380 people a year die from mattress fires.
Don’t use anything with a frayed cord. Follow the voltage limitations found on labels. Clothes dryers are named as the worst of these offenders. Dryers are responsible for 5 deaths a year, at least 100 injuries, and an estimated $35 million in property damages.
Don’t leave them unsupervised or near flammable materials. With 7 out of 10 houses using candles it is no surprise that almost 24,000 fires are ignited by candles each year.
Keep your matches and lighters out of reach. Be aware if your child is in a rebellious phase. watch younger children especially because an estimated 52% of all children killed in fires are age four or younger.
Be alert if your fuses frequently trip or lights dim when using an appliance.
Keep liquids away from heat many containers will explode simply from high temperatures.
Keep your tree stand full of water. If the tree becomes dry it is essentially a six foot candle in your home which is constantly covered with warm lights to spark a flame.
Never use a Barbecue in your home, including in the garage. There needs to be proper ventilation and the open air so that if there is a flame up from the oils in what is being cooked the ceiling will not light on fire. The lines also should be checked for gas leaks. a way to do this is by placing soapy water on the line. If a bubble occurs on the surface of the line while it runs that indicates a leak.
Remember that keeping your smoke detectors in working order is key to being able to detect fires before significant fire damage occurs. In homes with devastating fire damage only 38% had working alarms.
The following companies have smoke detectors which have been recently recalled: Kidde, First Alert, Safe T Alert, Universal, USI Electric, BRK, Family Gard, Black & Decker, Jameson, Maple Chase Firex, Funtech Safety’s Sake.
If your smoke alarm was manufactured by any of these companies call the manufacturer in order to determine if your model is faulty. FEMA suggests installing one or both of the following types of alarms. Ionization alarms, which sound quickly for fast moving fires; and photoelectric alarms which sense smoke faster. The top smoke alarms contain both of these sensing methods. They also suggest placing the detectors in multiple locations throughout the home in order to help with faster fire detection.
If your home has experienced a fire resulting from or worsened by malfunctioning electronics, like the above mentioned smoke detectors, we can help you repair the financial damage. Call Christensen & Hymas at (801)560-0800.
Image courtesy of Mathew Venn