House Fires Peak in Winter
According to the National Fire Protection Association, more home fires occur during Winter than any other season of the year. As the leading experts in fire, smoke and soot damage, we come across many fire-related property damages during Winter months. Let’s discuss the leading causes of house fires and how they can be avoided.
Cooking is the leading cause of fires year-round. Most cooking is done indoors throughout the colder months. Thus, the likelihood of a kitchen fire increases during Winter. Remember to never leave the kitchen unattended while cooking, especially when using hot appliances. Keep paper products, towels, potholders and other flammable materials away from the stove and avoid grease buildup by cleaning your stove often.
Heating is the second-leading cause of home fires. Space heaters are responsible for a large portion of Winter fires. Keep space heaters at least three feet away from flammable items. Never plug a space heater into an extension cord or power strip.
Many of us use candles to decorate our home in Winter. Be mindful of the placement of your candles. The majority of house fires started by candles occur when a combustible material is left too close to the open flame. Remember to keep candles at least three feet away from anything that might catch fire. It is unwise to leave a candle unattended. Be sure to extinguish lit candles before going to sleep.
The majority of dryer fires start because homeowners fail to clean the dryer. Buildup of lint and other materials cause fires because the unit cannot release heat properly. That heat buildup becomes the fuel to a very dangerous fire. To prevent a dryer fire, clean out lint filters each time you use your dryer. You should also have your dryer vent and ductwork professionally cleaned once a year- services we provide at SERVPRO of Society Hill.
Electrical lighting is another common cause of house fires. As you decorate your home with lights, be mindful of manufacturer instructions. Avoid overloading your outlet and/or power strip. There is a limit to how many strands of string lights can be connected safely. Replace any string strands with frayed wires or a worn appearance. Most importantly, turn off Christmas lights before leaving the house or going to bed.
Whether you prefer a real or artificial Christmas tree, both can pose a fire risk. Real trees tend to be at a higher risk of catching flame because of their needles becoming dry. However, artificial trees result in more severe flames with dangerous chemicals and smoke. As with other combustibles, keep your tree three feet away from any heat sources like radiators, fireplaces, heat vents, etc. Make sure your tree isn’t blocking an exit out of the home, like a hallway or door. For more tips, read our article about christmas tree safety here: https://www.SERVPROsocietyhill.com/holiday-tree-safety
Prevention is key to keeping a fire-safe home. Now would be a good time to practice your fire escape plan with your family! If your home is damaged by fire, smoke or soot this Winter, call SERVPRO of Society Hill for immediate cleanup and restoration.