The Lowdown on House Fires and How to Stay Safe

Published On: August 3, 20200 Comments on The Lowdown on House Fires and How to Stay SafeTags: , Last Updated: February 11, 20243.9 min read

With a global health pandemic going on right now, the last thing many of us are thinking about is other safety issues, such as fires at our properties. Unfortunately, though, no matter the time of year or what else is happening, the risk of a fire occurring in your home is a real one.

The Lowdown on House Fires and How to Stay Safe

As such, it’s wise to educate yourself and your family on the risks and steps to stay safer.

Causes Behind House Fires

There are many common causes of fires in the home. In particular, many fires start due to candles. People tend to light them and then forget about them, or they leave home or fall asleep while they’re still burning. The open flame on candles can lead to fires when not monitored, especially if they fall over or if a breeze carries a spark. Smokers also tend to be behind many house fires. If people forget to or don’t correctly extinguish their cigarette butts or pipes, disaster can strike. Butts continue to smolder for longer than many smokers realize, and the embers can set flammable items alight. The same issue arises if people fall asleep and drop lit products.

Another common cause of blazes is faulty wiring. This occurs mostly in old houses, but even modern abodes can have issues if the wiring wasn’t correctly installed in the first place or if animals chew on leads, etc. House fires often start directly at power points, on appliance leads, or related to internal wiring. If cords crack, fray, become loose, or get too much of a power surge going through them, sparks can fly. In turn, if sparks hit flammable items, a whole house can go up in smoke quickly.

Other things that tend to start house fires include:

  • Children playing with matches unsupervised
  • Heaters coming into contact with flammable goods
  • Faulty electric blankets
  • Wood-burning fires getting out of control
  • Accidents in the kitchen as people cook (e.g., via hot oil splattering onto flammable materials)

The Lowdown on House Fires and How to Stay Safe - candles

Tips for Staying Safe

To protect yourself, your family or housemates, your pets, and your property and possessions, there are multiple steps you can take to reduce the risk of a house fire. Don’t leave candles unattended at any stage and blow their flames out if you’re getting sleepy, moving to a different room, or leaving the house. Supervise your kids around candles, too, and only ever sit these items on flat, stable surfaces, so they’re less likely to fall over. If there are smokers in your household, be sure that cigarettes and pipes get put out properly in deep ashtrays where butts are correctly contained. Always check for fallen embers before leaving the room, too. Plus, teach your children about fire safety from a young age and lock matches and lighters away from them so they can’t get access to any dangerous items.

If you have an “old dame” kind of property, have an electrician or other professional check the status of the wiring throughout your entire home to ensure it’s safe. Have specialists replace anything that could pose a risk. Always use qualified, licensed tradespeople for these essential jobs, such as the technicians listed on sites like Candu. If you have a newer home but have noticed burning smells, flying sparks, shorting circuits, or any visible sign of frayed or otherwise damaged wiring or cords, also call in a contractor ASAP. The same goes for electric blankets and plug-in heaters. To keep wood fires in check, have chimneys serviced annually, and again, don’t leave them unattended unless you know they’re contained. Keep electric heaters well away from anything flammable in your property, and when cooking, roll up your sleeves so clothing can’t catch alight, and don’t leave the room when you have things on the stove.

You can also reduce the risk of fires destroying your home and injuring you or your loved ones by installing smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in multiple spots. By doing this, you’ll have some warning if there’s any sign of a fire. Buy fire extinguishers to have on your property, too, so you can put out any fires right away. No one likes to think about having to deal with a house fire and all the repercussions that come from them. However, they are a reality and happen in thousands of cases around the country every year. Educate yourself on the risks and follow the steps above to minimize the chances that you’ll ever have to deal with this kind of scary situation.

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