7 Common Causes of Phoenix Home Fires
Heat-igniting combustible materials and chemical reactions are the most common causes of home fires, according to statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Over 35,000 house fires in the United States result in about 2,000 deaths each year and millions of dollars in damage.
Arizona Total Home Restoration has compiled this list together with preventative measures to help you and your family stay safe.
Common Causes of Home Fires
1. Cooking-related Fires
Kitchen fires account for approximately 48% of all residential fires. Many of them occur when you leave grease or oil unattended. When grease reaches a temperature of 600 degrees Fahrenheit, it can spontaneously combust with no need for direct contact with a flame source.
- Never leave the kitchen when you are using oil. If leaving is unavoidable, turn off your oven or stove top immediately.
- Regularly clean your cookware to prevent the build of grease and fats on their surfaces.
Portable appliances such as toasters and griddles can also cause a fire. Store your appliances only when they are cool to the touch. Clean out crumbs from the toaster, air fryer, and similar products to prevent ignition.
Gas grills are another hazard. Check for blockages from insects or food drippings. Keep the hoses free of sharp bends, cracks, holes, and leaks and away from hot surfaces where grease could ignite. Don't place any type of grill near a fence or combustible materials. Fires start, and spread fast, because of incorrect grill placement, or when left unattended.
2. Heating Appliances
Heating appliances are common causes of home fires responsible for 15% of all house fires, according to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPCS).
3. Electrical Fires
Electrical wiring is one of the top causes of home fires, amounting to over 51,000 fires each year. The Electrical Foundation Safety International (EFSI) states electrical malfunctions or failures account for the highest share of direct property damage and civilian deaths.
You may have the beginnings of an electrical fire lurking within your walls without even realizing it. Faulty house wiring can cause arcing, sparking, or circuits that become overloaded, leading to fires within the drywall. Overloaded or damaged extension cords are another culprit.
Consider having a licensed electrician install safety measures like a whole home surge protector, arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs), and tamper resistant receptacles (TRRs). Learn about 6 ways to prevent electrical fires.
While the number of adult American smokers may be in decline, smoking is still one of the leading causes of home fires. Cigarettes and other smoking materials cause 1,000 deaths and 3,000 injuries each year, according to the NFPA.
Avoid smoking in bed and, regardless if you smoke or not, consider a fire-resistant mattress.
Unattended candles start a shocking number of house fires. Keep lit candles at least 12 inches from combustible materials such as wall hangings and drapery. Keep lighters and matches out of reach of children.
To reduce the risk, invest in battery-powered flameless candles. Today’s models offer a realistic flickering flame effect.
6. Chemical Fires
These types of fires are more common in industrial or commercial properties, but happen in homes too. They start when the vapors from gasoline and other petroleum products reach a flash-point temperature, or the vapors come in contact with an open flame.
Store your gasoline for landscaping and other home projects in approved containers. Only fill them to 95%; this will allow the vapors to expand without rupturing the container. Store containers at least 50 feet away from potential ignition sources such as water heaters and furnaces, and as far away from your home as possible.
7. Christmas Trees
Many Americans love the sight and scent of a natural Christmas tree during the holiday season. But both real and artificial trees come with fire risk. Natural trees dry out, at which time hot lights or a nearby spark can burst a tree into flames.
Although artificial trees are safer, a house fire still may occur because of overheated lights or faulty wiring. Use LED lighting and purchase a fire-resistant tree material. Learn more about holiday decoration safety tips.
Many of these fire safety tips are common sense, but it is worthwhile to get into the habit of practicing them. Avoiding common causes of home fires is far less expensive and emotionally devastating than the aftermath of one. Consider smart home devices and the best smoke alarms for further fire prevention. We also suggest you review and update your insurance fire policies annually to avoid the financial burden of an unexpected fire.