House fires in Missoula are devastating. There are so many things in our home that could potentially start and feed fires, so it is so important to know the most common causes of house fires and how you can take precautions to avoid fire damage cleanup in your own home.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, cooking is the cause of ½ of all house fires. The kitchen is full of flammable objects, and when you mix that with the high temperatures used to cook food it is no wonder that this is the place where most fires originate. To be proactive with fire safety in the kitchen, the first thing you should do is never leave food that is cooking unattended. Second is to keep cooking equipment and appliances clean. Build up on stovetops, in ovens, and in microwaves are flammable and can lead to fires. The third way you can prevent fires from cooking is to keep flammable objects away from the stove and any other heat sources. Be sure to use caution whenever you are cooking in the kitchen, and keep a fire extinguisher on hand nearby.
Heating devices are the second most common cause of house fires. Space heaters left unattended in rooms and placed too close to flammable objects can start fires really quickly. You should be sure that space heaters are a safe distance from any other objects, and turn them off when you leave the room. Wood stoves and chimneys need to be kept clean and maintained to prevent fires. Obstructions and buildup in fires can prove catastrophic.
Unintentional fires caused by carelessness are the next most common cause of house fires. Mistakes happen, and no one is perfect, but negligence with potential fire hazards is something we can all work on and become more aware of. Candles left burning while unattended, heating devices left near combustible items, failing to put out cigarettes completely, being careless in the kitchen, not storing matches and lighters in safe areas out of reach, and failing to turn off gas tanks when no longer in use are just a few of examples of the careless actions that often lead to fires.
Frayed wires and damaged cords, and plugging too many cords into one outlet can cause electrical malfunctions that can lead to fires. Damaged wiring and exposed wires need to be replaced before using. Do over-plug outlets. When too much current is running through a single outlet or extension cord, it can overheat, spark, and start a fire. If you have too many cords that need power in one area, like at the TV entertainment center, you should use a surge protector to ensure there is no current overload. If cords feel hot after being plugged in for too long, unplug them and do not use them again until they cool down.
Even following every precaution does not guarantee your home will be safe from fires. If you find yourself dealing with the aftermath of a fire, Five Valleys is here to help. We specialize in fire damage cleanup, and will be there for you during one of the most difficult disasters you can endure.