In 2016, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported 475,500 structure fires in the United States. These fires resulted to the death of 2,950 people, 12,775 were injured and $7.9 billion property was damaged. In this article, we shall learn how to avoid home fires as a result of:
1. Lithium batteries
Lithium batteries are used to power most devices that are found in homes such as laptops, cellphones, and digital cameras. Lithium batteries are dangerous by nature since the separator between the electrodes is a porous and thin slip of polypropylene. The batteries also contain flammable electrolyte which can combust if it heats up.
In order to escape from being a victim of the fires that arise from lithium-ion batteries, avoid dropping your gadgets as this causes wear and tear to the volatile power source. Additionally, avoid buying cheap chargers from any vendor as the manufacturers cut corners to save on several pennies. They skip some power management features, shirk safety laws and often skimp on insulation.
2. Clogged dryer vents
Most of our houses are installed with a dryer to facilitate movement of hot, warm and moist air to dissipate out of the house. Some homes also use cloth dryers especially when the weather outside is not conducive to drying clothes. Clogged dryer vents work harder to remove the exhaust air and in the process, they use more energy which puts a more electrical load on the gadget resulting in a fire incident.
Take the initiative of averting the risk of a fire by having a strategy to clean the dryers. Clogged dryer vents can harbor other organisms which can indirectly cause a fire outbreak. Most of the fires reported as a result of dryer vents are attributed to the failure of cleaning the vents.
3. Cooking negligence
Cooking is inevitable in most homes and it should be conducted with precaution otherwise it can result in home fires. Some of the hazards that can result in a fire include the use of faulty electronic cooking devices, placing of flammable liquids near heat or flames, and negligent behaviors during cooking such as taking a nap.
Home fires emanating from cooking negligence can be avoided by turning off the cooking devices every time you are off the kitchen. Develop a schedule to check and maintain all your cooking and heating devices. Wear a kitchen apron while in the kitchen to avoid your loose clothes and dangling sleeves from catching fire. Finally, purchase a fire extinguisher and have a basic training on extinguishing kitchen fires.
4. Leaving candles unattended
A lighting candle has some form of tranquility and beauty but if left unattended it can cause a home fire. The open flame is a potential hazard by itself. According to NFPA, an average of 9,300 home fires are caused by open-flame candles every year.
In order to keep your home and family safe from candle fires, consider implementing the following safety precautions:
- Blow out the candle when leaving the house or going to bed.
- Burn the candle on a candle holder and place it on a stable heat resistant surface.
- Keep the candle away from loose combustible materials and away from any drafts, air currents or vents.
5. Leaving high voltage appliances plugged in
Our homes are full of high voltage electrical devices such as heaters, curling irons, or hair dryers. All these gadgets pose a risk of electric fire if left unplugged for long. In order to prevent fires from high voltage electrical appliances, always use the heater meter rule. Plug in heaters directly to wall socket outlets and never leave them unattended. Never use curling irons near a potential wet surface or situation such as a shower.
6. Badly maintained home electrical outlets
Electrical outlets are the main sources of the power used in most homes. Therefore, faulty electrical outlets can be a major source of a fire in your home. Electrical fires are devastating as they spread very fast and they can lead to massive losses. “Prevention is better than cure”. Thus, engage a qualified professional to conduct a routine check and maintenance of all your electrical outlets including those hidden in the attic, in the basement, or those outside.
7. Batteries dead on fire alarms
Fire alarms are usually self-powered to make sure they are operational in case of a fire because electricity is usually cut out during a fire incidence. Dead batteries on a fire alarm can cost you heavily in case of a home fire. Ensure you routinely test your smoke detector and replace the battery if the sound produced by the device is faint. Waiting for the beeping alert to go on is a bad idea. This is because it can happen while you are outside the house and the battery will die out without your knowledge leaving you in danger.
8. Smoking in bed
Smoking in bed is like putting a grenade under your bed and waiting for it to explode. The bedroom is a place to rest and relax. Therefore, you can fall asleep with the cigarette is still burning and set your house on fire. The only remedy to avoid home fires caused by smoking is to never smoke in the bedroom. Exercise the habit of smoking outside and make sure the cigarette is completely put off.