Prevent house fires: How can you prevent accidental fires at home

Cables plugged into a power strip

As part of the “Be a home hero” series, this article joins a family of helpful stories like Preventing home burglary and water damage while you escape the cold and How to prevent water leaks in your home. Because when you’re a step ahead of peril, you’re stepping up as a home hero. 

Be a home hero: Stop the spark before it starts

Fires in the home can be a destructive, heart-breaking force. Some of the losses are irreplaceable. That’s why it’s important to be ever vigilant against fires, and the causes that start them.  Electrical fires spark most blazes, but there are many other causes to be aware of.  When you prevent them, you’re the home hero who fights the fire before it gets a chance to light up.

Top dangers that cause house fires

It doesn’t take much. A spark will feed on the air and the nearest wall, furniture, or textile. Here’s where the sparks commonly fly:

  • Hazardous or damaged wiring from even the smallest appliances
  • Overloaded power bars
  • Inadequate wiring in older homes, condos, and apartments buildings
  • Old and hazardous wiring exhibited in frequently tripping circuit breakers or blowing fuses
  • Improper handling of oil, leaving the stove unattended, and other cooking dangers
  • Poor care and operation of portable space heaters and fireplaces in winter
  • Unattended candles

How to prevent house fires and protect your home

  • Here are just a few things you can do to minimize the chances of a fire:
  • Limit the use of power bars and multi-outlet extenders to prevent overloading a circuit
  • Maintain your smoke alarms and ensure batteries are charged
  • Never run cords underneath carpet or rugs or behind furniture
  • Keep electrical cords away from sources of heat and water
  • Disconnect small appliances when not in use or on vacation
  • Never leave cooking or candles unattended and make sure to properly extinguish
  • Limit usage of portable heaters indoors and never leave unattended
  • Remove lint from your dryer after each load as it can ignite when the appliance is in use
  • For smokers, great care needs to be taken when smoking and in the disposal of smoking items. Never use a potted plant as an ashtray.

Fire safety and prevention resources

Aside from good fire prevention behaviours, it’s also recommended that you add multiple fire alarms on each floor of your home and to place a fire extinguisher under the kitchen sink. Be sure to inspect your extinguishers at least once a year – maybe add it to the list of to-dos when you check your smoke alarms.

Not all heroes wear capes

They don’t even need x-ray vision. A watchful eye on the causes of fires can stop them before they spark. 

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