According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fire departments respond to thousands of residential fires each year. Unfortunately, most of these fires lead to devastating deaths and injuries. While most fires occur during the winter when space heaters or heated blankets ignite, several fires happen in the summer months for various reasons as well. With proper fire prevention and safety tactics and home maintenance, the majority of residential fires can be preventable.
Basic fire prevention tips for residential safety:
- Fire extinguishers should be located in the kitchen and on each additional floor in the home
- A fire escape plan should be understood and distributed
- Check all electrical appliances, cords and wiring
- Test smoke alarms and replace batteries
- Never smoke while in bed or laying down near blankets
- Do not leave food unattended while cooking
- Install and check fire sprinklers in the home
Smoke Alarm Maintenance
The majority of all residential fires could be prevented if homes had functioning smoke alarms. According to the American Red Cross, a functioning smoke alarm reduces the risk of death in a house fire by 50 percent. Smoke alarms should be installed on all floors of the home, near the bedrooms. Smoke alarm batteries need to be replaced each year while the alarms themselves must be replaced every 10 years. Similarly, it is important to test your smoke alarms each month by simply pressing the test button.
Smoking accidents are usually completely preventable and usually occur near bedding, mattresses or furniture. Knowing this information, do not smoke in bed, while drowsy or under the influence of medicine or alcohol, do not leave a lit cigarette unattended and do not throw lit ashes in the trash.
Cooking causes numerous fires each year. Individuals often leave food unattended in the kitchen while it cooks on the stove or grill. To prevent this, do not leave food unattended, remove flammable items from the kitchen, avoid long or loose fitting flammable clothing, always turn pot handles in and clean cooking surfaces to prevent a grease buildup.
Defective space heaters and other types of alternate heat can be very dangerous and lead to fires if used incorrectly or if electrical components do not work properly. To prevent a fire involving a heater make sure that the heater has around three feet of clear space around it on all sides, turn off space heaters before sleeping, do not use space heaters to dry clothes and have chimneys and fireplaces inspected annually.
Winter holidays also see a spike in house fires. During the holiday season make sure the home is safe by removing real Christmas trees from the house once they dry out, turning off Christmas lights when they are unattended, discontinuing use of any strand of light with hot wires and keeping Christmas tree stands filled with water.
Household Appliances and Electrical Wires
Defective and faulty electrical wiring systems, appliances and cords lead to thousands of dangerous electrical fires annually. It is extremely important to escape fire-related property damage and safeguard your home by using cords and appliances with surge protectors, throwing away appliances that overheat, reporting or blocking broken outlets, replacing all two-hole outlets and by never overloading wall sockets.
Other Potentially Defective Safety Concerns
Recalls of household items should be taken very seriously as they have the potential for fire and burn items due to their electrical problems and or manufacturing errors. The following household products undergo the most frequent fire-related recalls:
- Extension cords and other cords
- Surge protectors
- Warming blankets
- Rechargeable items such as batteries and laptops
- Gas-cooking items
If you or a loved one has experienced an unfortunate harm or loss in a residential fire that was caused by a product defect, call an experienced product’s liability attorney today to discuss your potential case. A products liability attorney can help you receive the justice and compensation you deserve. Call us today 314.409.7060.