Every Day There Are Over 1,000 House Fires in the United States.
Each year thousands of families across America face the unimaginable tragedy of losing their home, or even worse, a loved one to preventable house fires. We watch these homes on our televisions and read about them in the paper. This problem is not exclusive to other parts of the country either. Each year we hear countless stories of Westchester, NY families who lose their homes to fire. Most of us imagine – when we see these stories - is that the cause is almost always an old electrical system or a careless smoker. In most cases, you’d be mistaken.
Every year there are over 365,000 house fires in the United States and over 15,000 civilian casualties. Firstly, let's take a look at what's causing these fires. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, more than 43% of all house-fires and 54% of civilian casualties are caused by cooking and/or kitchen equipment. That's more than electrical shortages, candles, and smoking combined!
Half of all home fire deaths result from incidents reported between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. One-quarter (25%) of all home fire deaths were caused by fires that started in the bedroom; another quarter (24%) resulted from fires originating in the living room, family room, or den; and 16% were caused by fires starting in the kitchen. Three out of five home fire deaths resulted from fires in which no smoke alarms were present or in which smoke alarms were present but did not operate. Compared to other age groups, older adults were more likely to be killed by a home fire.
Although these numbers might seem frightening, there are simple and effective ways to prevent incidents like these and tips to better equip your family if a fire may ever arise.
Fire Safety Tips:
Have at Least one working smoke alarm - 3 out of 5 civilian deaths occurred in homes that had not one working smoke alarm. Make sure to clean your smoke alarm and replace it regularly (TIP: if a smoke detector is yellow in color, it is likely ready to be replaced!)
Use Kitchen Appliances Wisely - When using appliances follow the manufacturer's safety precautions. Overheating, unusual smells, shorts and sparks are all warning signs that appliances need to be shut off, then replaced or repaired. Unplug appliances when not in use. Use safety caps to cover all unused outlets, especially if there are small children in the home
Prevent Electrical Fires- Never overload circuits or extension cords. Do not place cords and wires under rugs, over nails or in high traffic areas. Immediately shut off and unplug appliances that sputter, spark or emit an unusual smell. Have them professionally repaired or replaced.
Have an escape plan- The most important part of having a fire plan is determining the place you will all meet once safe outside. Many tragedies have taken place when a family member will run back inside a burning home to search for another