Fire Damage Prevention

Fire Risks and Fire Damage Prevention


According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 360,000 home fires annually from 2010-2014. In this post, we will be looking at the ten most likely causes of home fires. We will also be sharing with you some important fire damage prevention tips to help you stay safe.


  1. Cooking – Based on the most recent statistics from the National Fire Protection Association, cooking-related activities accounted for 40% of home fires reported in the last few years. It only takes a few seconds to cause a blaze in the kitchen;  distraction and unattended stoves or ovens are mainly responsible. Make sure and keep all flammable materials such as mittens, plastic jars, paper towels etc. away from the cooking area. Do not try to put out a grease fire with water, instead put a lid on the pan to smother the flames. Always have a working smoke and carbon monoxide detector in the house and keep a fire extinguisher nearby just in case for fire damage prevention.
  1. Heating appliances – Fires from electrical or fuel-based heaters are very common during the winter fire-damaged-housemonths. Keep portable heaters at least 3 feet away from anything easily flammable like curtains, clothes and furniture. Home furnaces should also be inspected at least once a year to make sure it’s in proper working condition.
  1. Smoking – Fires from bedroom smoking account for more than 70% of house fire fatalities. A cigarette butt can stay lit for hours after being discarded and can cause a fire if not disposed of properly. If you must smoke in the house, you must make use of large, deep ashtrays. Always supervise smokers for signs of drowsiness – especially those on medication or drinking alcohol. Constantly check for fallen cigarettes and butts which may slowly cause flammable items to ignite.
  1. Kids playing with fire – Leaving matches and lighters within the reach of curious children can lead to an unintentional fire outbreak. Children should be taught about fire safety and why they should not play with fire. You should also make sure flammable items such as lighter and matches are kept out of children’s reach. Have a smoke alarm installed and practice a home escape plan with the family in case of a fire incident. They should also learn about basic fire damage prevention such using a fire extinguisher and what to do in an emergency.
  1. Electrical appliances – Just because there is an open plug does not mean any appliance can be plugged into it. In the U.S. from 2007- 2011, more than 50% of home electrical fires were caused by electrical wiring or equipment such as washers, dryers, oven ranges, irons and water heaters. Always be sure of the rating of an appliance before you plug it into any extension. Overloading a circuit or extension can lead to equipment malfunction and overheating. Make sure you have a certified electrician perform a yearly checkup of your home’s electrical wiring system.
  2. Candles – Never forget that candles are open flames and must not be left unattended. Candles should be kept on a secure holder, on a level surface and out of reach of children and pets. Most importantly, keep them far away from flammable items.
  1. Old, inadequate wiring – This is common in older homes where the wiring and cables have been worn out over time. Shoddy installation of wiring can also cause an electrical fire. Once you notice that your fuses get blown often and circuit breakers trip a lot, you should have an electrician look at your wiring. This will go a long way in fire damage prevention as an electrician will be able to identify and repair any faults before it leads to a fire.south-bend-fire-restoration
  1. Barbecues – Summer grills and outdoor barbecues are a lot of fun, but the open flames and embers can cause a house fire. The use of liquid fuel to quickly ignite and keep a barbecue flame going can quickly get out of control when the operator is careless. Keep lighters and liquid fuel away from open flames and hot coals. Allow hot coals to cool completely before disposing of them. Keep your barbecue grills clean with soapy water, and check the gas tank for leaks before usage.
  1. Lights and Christmas decorations – Lamp shades and other light fittings get really hot if they are too close to light globes. Lamp bases can also cause a fire if they are unstable. Christmas lights need to be checked thoroughly for damaged lights and bulbs. Also, keep your Christmas tree away from all heat sources such as fireplaces, candles and heaters.
  1. Flammable liquids – There are a lot of flammable materials that have daily home use such as fuels, oils and cleaning fluids. Keep all flammables away from reach and far from sources of heat. Ensure your garage is well organized and all flammable liquids properly locked away and kept in a cool area.

If you have experienced a home fire or have any additional questions concerning possible risks, please do not hesitate to call the emergency department at HomeWorks Construction and Restoration at 574-318-9675.

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HomeWorks Construction
1511 N Pulaski St.
South Bend, IN 46613
Phone: 574.318.WORK (9675)