Many homeowners worry about a fire starting in their home and can benefit from knowing which rooms house fires commonly start in. As many as a third of the fires reported in the U.S. are residential, meaning they occur in a home.
Unfortunately, even with precautions in place, house fires can still occur when you least expect it. And even if no one in the home is injured, fires can cause irreparable damage to your house and your belongings.
Having working smoke detectors in your home can be the difference between life or death when it comes to house fires, so make sure to inspect them monthly and replace batteries each year.
If a fire does occur in your house, the most important thing is to get everyone out of the building immediately and call 911. The Red Cross provides additional guidelines to keep you and your family safe.
When you know where and when fires are likely to start, you are better prepared to protect yourself, your family, and your home from disaster.
According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), 49 percent of fires begin in the kitchen while cooking, and many of the fires and fire-related injuries can be prevented with safe kitchen practices.
The majority of these house fires occur when equipment is left unattended, particularly when a range or cooktop is left on while no one is present in the kitchen. Kitchens that have an electric range are more likely to experience a kitchen fire than those with gas ranges.
Many cooking fires start while frying food using oil or fat. When the oil or fat get too hot, they can ignite and become grease fires. These types of fires burn extremely hot and can spread out of control, especially if the grease splashes out of the pan.
Unlike other types of fires, the last thing you want to do when fighting a grease fire is to pour water on it. Instead, cover the flames and the grease with a lid to prevent oxygen from feeding the flames, then turn off the heat source. If a lid is not readily available, douse the fire with a large amount of baking soda.
Here are a few more ways to prevent house fires in the kitchen:
- Turn off all cooking appliances and heat sources when you have to leave the room, even for just a few minutes. Double check that the stove and oven are turned completely off when you are done cooking.
- Make sure that loose or baggy clothes are secured close to your body, rolled up, or under a tied apron to prevent the risk of catching fire while cooking.
- Designate a specific place for items such as hot pads, dish towels, and cooking utensils and return them to those spots between each use. This will prevent leaving them too close to heat sources and posing a fire hazard.
- Have a Class B fire extinguisher at hand in the kitchen in the case of a fire.
- If at any point you are concerned that a fire is out of your control to safely extinguish, immediately call 911.
Of the rooms where house fires commonly start, bedrooms are the second most common but often more fatal than kitchen fires. This is primarily because many of the fires that start in bedrooms begin at night while people are sleeping.
Fires that start in bedrooms are often the result of damaged or faulty electrical wiring or malfunctioning heating or lighting appliances. Having too many items plugged into an outlet or extension cord can easily overload them and quickly become a fire hazard.
Another reason that fires in bedrooms can quickly burn out of control is the amount of flammable materials present. Many textiles used as bedding, curtains, stuffed animals, and carpet can ignite when sparks are created by electrical issues and spread throughout the room and the rest of the house.
It is crucial to have a working smoke detector on every level of the house and in or adjacent to each sleeping area (bedroom). That way, a fire can be detected as soon as possible and all inhabitants warned of the danger.
Here are a few more ways to prevent house fires in bedrooms:
- Address any faulty or loose wall outlets or electrical wiring issues in your home as quickly as possible.
- Replace worn and old power cords, including chargers, extension cords, power strips, etc., as soon as damage or normal wear and tear is noticed.
- Be aware of which devices and how many devices can safely be plugged into an outlet, extension cord, or power strip. Unplug devices when not using them.
- Make sure space heaters are placed at least three feet away from any material that could catch fire and turned off whenever not in use.
Fires can also begin in your laundry room. While there are some minimal risks of the electrical wiring of a washing machine causing a fire, most home fires that start in the laundry room begin with a dryer. Of those fires, there are two specific ways in which the fires usually ignite.
The first is a build up of dryer lint. Dryers are designed with filters to catch the lint that come off of your clothes as they dry. When the filter is not regularly cleaned and the lint emptied out, the lint continues to accumulate with each load. This increases the risk of lint coming in contact with the heating element of the dryer or continuing to buildup until the dryer can’t ventilate properly.
The second way occurs if a flammable substance finds its way into the dryer and combusts when it is heated by the warm air. This is far less common, especially if the clothes or other fabrics have been washed previously to being put in the dryer.
Proper and regular maintenance is the best way to prevent fires from starting in your laundry room. Be sure to clean out the lint filter of your dryer consistently and inspect the wiring from time to time.
Approximately 13 percent of house fires begin in attics, crawl spaces, or other areas of homes that are not often actively used. This is particularly true of older homes that might not have up-to-date wiring or appliances.
While many of these are again due to electrical issues, there are also potential fire hazards when it comes to items that are stored in these often neglected spaces. It is important to store any flammable materials in airtight containers and store items away from heat sources and open wiring.
If your home is older, it may be beneficial to contact an electrician to come inspect and update any electrical issues before they become a problem.
Western Disaster Clean Up
Along with knowing the rooms where house fires commonly start, it is just as important to know what to do if you do experience a house fire. Once everyone is safe and the fire has been put out properly, call Western Disaster Clean Up.
Our expert team is ready and available to respond at anytime – 24/7 – with the best experience, equipment, and care for your home. As certified fire restoration specialists, Wester Disaster Clean Up will assess and repair the damage to your home and restore the safety and comfort of your home quickly and efficiently.
For more information and help in any disaster, call us today.