5 Tips to Prevent House Fires

fire prevention week

October 4 – October 10 is Fire Prevention Week in Louisiana, and here at Mike Brandner Injury Attorneys, we’re highlighting the importance of keeping your home safe from fire hazards.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), residential fires cause an average of 2,620 civilian deaths every year in the United States. An additional 11,220 people suffer burn injuries, smoke inhalation, and other fire-related injuries.

Not all house fires can be anticipated, but the good news is that many residential structure fires can be prevented by following some simple tips.

Use Caution in the Kitchen

The number one cause of most home fires is cooking mishaps in the kitchen. Unattended cooking and stovetops are among the top contributing factors in these fires. Here are some ways to keep your kitchen safe.

  • Never leave cooking unattended.
  • If you’ve been drinking alcohol, have taken drugs, or are feeling drowsy, leave the cooking to someone else.
  • Get kids into the habit of obeying a three-feet rule. Whenever they’re in the kitchen with Mom or Dad, have them stay at least three feet away from cooking appliances and areas where hot food or beverages are being prepared. 
  • Keep kitchen counters clean and tidy. Not only will this make cooking go more smoothly, it also reduces the risk of accidentally setting your oven mitts on fire.
  • Always be prepared for the possibility of a fire. Remember, you want to smother a grease fire, not douse it with water. Keep a lid within reach while cooking for this purpose and always make sure you have a working fire extinguisher inside your home.

Use Home Heating Equipment Properly

Autumn just started, but winter will be here before you know it. Nothing feels more homey than curling up next to the fireplace or in bed with a space heater, but heating systems can be a huge fire hazard. Take some time this Fire Prevention Week to evaluate your heating systems for potential problems down the line.

fire prevention week
  • Have a licensed professional install space heating equipment, water heaters, or central heating equipment in accordance with local codes and manufacturer best practice. Have your furnace or fireplace serviced regularly to prevent equipment malfunction. 
  • Keep flammable items at least three feet away from heating equipment.
  • Always turn off portable heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Never use your oven to heat your home.
  • Use carbon monoxide detectors in addition to smoke detectors to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from wood burning stoves or generators. (Using a generator to restore power after a hurricane? Check out these post-hurricane safety tips to keep you and your family safe.)

Beware of Electrical Hazards

So many of our daily activities are powered by electricity that it’s easy to take it for granted. But the truth is that electricity can be deadly when not taken seriously. Electrical fires occur when an electrical appliance is misused or defective, or sometimes when electrical wiring is poorly installed or maintained. To prevent electrical fires and other electrical injuries like electrocution accidents, be sure to follow these recommendations from the NFPA.

  • Hire a licensed and experienced electrician if your home requires electrical work.
  • Have your home inspected by a professional if you notice strange happenings such as flickering lights, frequently blown fuses, tripping circuit breakers, or sparking outlets. These kinds of issues, while they may be minor, can also be a sign of bigger electrical problems.
  • Don’t plug major appliances like the refrigerator, washer or dryer, or even microwaves into a plug strip or extension cord. Use the wall receptacle outlet instead.
  • Turn off any electrical appliance that produces heat when not in use.  
  • Damaged electrical cords should never be plugged in. Replace the damaged item if the cord is visibly frayed or worn.

Never Smoke Inside Your Home

Never mind the cost to your wallet and your health, being a smoker also increases your risk of being injured in a house fire. If you or someone in your home smokes, consider these suggestions for keeping your home safer.

  • Smoke outside. Most smoking-related fires occur in the home in living rooms, bedrooms, and dens where people feel the most comfortable (and may fall asleep with a lit cigarette).
  • Use a deep ashtray and always ensure that the cigarette is fully extinguished before walking away. When in doubt, douse with water or sand.
  • Keep cigarettes, lighters, and matches out of reach of children at all times.
  • Be cautious if you smoke e-cigarettes. Battery failures in vaping products have been known to cause small explosions. Never leave your vape battery unattended while charging.

Use Good Candle Safety Practices

Nothing says fall like a pumpkin spice candle—but as great as they make your home smell, candles are among the top five causes of residential fires in the United States. With these good safety practices, however, you can help prevent candle-caused house fires.

fire prevention week
  • Keep candles at least one foot away from flammable materials such as curtains.
  • Blow out candleswhenever you leave the room or go to bed. Try to avoid keeping candles in bedrooms since you are more likely to fall asleep.
  • Don’t light candles if someone in your home uses supplemental oxygen.
  • Avoid using candles in a power outage. Flashlights and battery-powered lighting are much safer alternatives.
  • Don’t burn candles all the way to the bottom. When it starts getting close to the bottom or the container, stop using the candle altogether.

Injured in a House Fire?

Though you might take care in safeguarding your home this Fire Prevention Week, accidents still happen. If you or a loved one is injured in a house fire because of someone else’s negligence—that is, poor electrical work, a landlord who failed to provide you with working smoke detectors, or a defective electrical appliance, etc.—you may have grounds for a personal injury claim.

Filing a claim can result in a significant financial settlement, one which may help you pay your medical bills, recover lost wages, and compensate you for your pain and suffering. To learn more, contact Mike Brandner Injury Attorneys at one of the numbers listed below. We’ll arrange a consultation at no cost to you to discuss all your legal options. You can also easily submit your case details using this form, or connect with a LiveChat agent right now for more information. 

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The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.