House fires are more common than you think. 74% of structural loss fires in Ontario are residential fires. In Ontario, from 2009 to 2018, statistics show there were 113,111 fires with reported losses. Residential fires account for 47% of these fires. There are a variety of risks and common causes of residential fires. Learn the steps you can take to prevent a terrible accident, protect your home and your loved ones.
Fires start in the kitchen
The leading cause of residential fires begin in the kitchen which is related to cooking. It is also the leading cause of home-fire injuries.
- To prevent a kitchen fire, ensure you are always present in the kitchen during cooking. When using hot oil, the stove top, or high temperature cooking, stay in the room. Do not leave the room unattended at any point. Should you need to, turn off the stove or boiling water and resume when you return or have someone look out for what you’re cooking if you need to step out.
- Ensure flammable liquids or objects are away from heat sources. Common kitchen tools like oven mitts, cloths or paper towels can quickly catch fire if placed too close to a heat source. Roll up your sleeves and ensure your own clothing is not too close to an open flame to avoid a potential fire.
- Grease on a barbecue, stove top or oven is highly flammable. Cleaning your appliances will lower the risk of built up grease catching fire.
TIP: Always have a fire extinguisher stored in an easy-to-reach place in your kitchen. Have it checked every three months to ensure it is working and in good condition.
Heating equipment comes in second
Not maintaining or cleaning your heating equipment could put you at risk of a house fire. As the second leading cause of house fires, there are many preventative measures to take to protect your home.
- Portable heaters should always be clear of clothing, draperies, fabric or blankets. They can overheat the device itself and quickly spark a fire. They should also be stored away from objects deemed combustible.
- Your fireplace, furnace and chimney should be inspected once a year. A deep cleaning can ensure there is no build-up of flammable residue. An inspection will also check to see if they are working as they should be.
- Before using your laundry dryer, ensure you empty the dryer filter for any dust and lint. This is an overlooked small chore that can lead to dryer fires – a common but widely unknown fire risk.
Electrical equipment = warning signs
Fires caused by electrical failings or accidents are common and can be prevented by being aware of these warning signs.
- If a cord or plug on electrical equipment is broken, faulty, or begin to deteriorate, replace them or have them fixed. For example, if the wires on a cord are exposed, such as a phone charger, it raises the risk of a fire by 47%.
- Lights that flicker or dim when another is in use could mean that the electrical equipment is not working properly. Small, insignificant and overlooked things like this could be the start of a spark that can burn down a whole home.
- Remove plugs from the outlet if it becomes overloaded. Be mindful of the amount of electricity being used from a single outlet.
TIP: If you do have an electrical fire break out, refrain from pouring water over it. Doing so can cause electrocution!
Put out the flame
Lit candles need to be monitored and cannot be left lit unattended in a room. The risk is raised when the candle is near home décor, napkins, flowers or Kleenex boxes.
- Make sure candles are not lit in your home when no one is around to monitor it should it be bumped into or fall over.
- Ensure they are not placed on a surface that can overhear and become flammable or near a material that is combustible.
Protect your home and loved ones by following these tips to minimize the risk of a house fire. Ensure you have a fully working smoke alarm on every level of your house and especially in your kitchen. The best rated smoke alarms in Canada are the First Alert Combination Alarm, the Kidde Hardwire Detector and the First Alert Dual Ionization Alarm. Have it checked monthly and change the batteries as soon as it alerts you to.
Purchase home insurance to protect you in the case of an unforeseen accident. If you would like to learn more about fire hazards in your home and how home insurance can protect you in the worst case scenario, contact a broker at Oracle RMS today!