November and December are joyous months of holiday celebrations, but they are also dangerous months of the year in that they are the peak months for home fires and home fire deaths. According to 2015 fire statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), some 357,000 home fires occurred last year, causing an estimated 2,470 deaths, nearly 13,000 injuries, and nearly $7 billion in direct property damage. While that’s the bad news, the good news is that everyone can dramatically reduce the dangers of fire by being aware of the greatest dangers and taking simple steps to reduce or eliminate the level of risk within your home.
According to the NFPA:
• Home fires are more likely to start in the kitchen than any other room in the home. For this reason, every kitchen should have a fire extinguisher stored in an easy-to reach location.
• The second leading cause of home fires are heating sources like wood stoves, and fireplaces. Fires caused by smoking are the leading cause of deaths.
• Three out of five home deaths resulted from fires with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
• Compared to other age groups, older adults were more likely to be killed by a home fire.
The Most Dangerous Room
The majority of home fires start in the kitchen from unattended stoves and ovens. Now consider how much more time is spent cooking during the holidays and you can see how the danger level increases dramatically at this time of year. In short, when cooking, make it a habit to continually check on things.
An Alternative to Candles
Candles make a cheerful touch to our homes, but candles are another major contributor to house fires. Consider this: if you’re going to use real candles, make certain they are not even remotely near anything flammable such as draperies or artificial plants. A better suggestion is to replace your candles with battery operated candles that look (and even smell) like real candles.
To find these candles, conduct an Internet search with the term: “battery operated candles.”
Check for frayed extension cords, don’t overload an outlet with plugs, and if you use a string of holiday lights make sure the bulbs don’t touch anything that could catch fire.
Last year, fire killed more Americans than all natural disasters combined, and 84 percent of all fire deaths occurred in residences. Now consider that working smoke alarms can cut the risk of dying in a home fire by half. If you have smoke alarms, now is a great time to put fresh batteries in your units. If you don’t have smoke alarms, please consider getting them into your house before the Thanksgiving holiday.