According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), home fires occur most often in the winter. In fact, heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires, deaths and injuries in the United States each year. The United States Fire Administration (USFA) reports that winter home fires claim 905 lives per year and cause over $2 billion in annual damages. Don't be a statistic. Understand the risks, and keep your home safe this season.
Common Causes of Winter Home Fires
The most common causes of winter home fires include:
- Cooking/kitchen accidents
- Indoor and outdoor holiday decorations
- Dry Christmas trees
- Heating equipment
- Portable generators
- Fireplaces and wood stoves
Is your home safe? Follow the winter fire safety tips below from ServiceMaster Restore® to ensure your home stays a warm and welcoming place for family and friends without putting anyone at risk.
Winter Fire Safety Tips
- Follow safe heating practices.
- Two of every five fires occur because of space heaters. If you have one in your home, make sure it has an automatic shut-off so that if it accidentally tips over, it will shut off before a fire starts.
- Do not place space heaters or other heating equipment near flammable materials, such as furniture, clothing, mattresses or bedding. Maintain 3 feet between all heating equipment and other furniture or décor.
- If you own a wood stove, always keep the doors closed. The only time you should open the doors is if you're adding more wood or stoking the fire.
- If you own a fireplace, use a screen, and have your chimney inspected regularly. A buildup of creosote can quickly lead to a deadly fire.
- Follow safe cooking practices.
- Always keep an eye on the stove, oven or other appliances you use to cook. If you notice any smoke or boiling grease, immediately turn the burner or device off.
- If everyone must leave the kitchen, turn all burners and equipment off.
- Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove so nobody can knock them off the stove by mistake.
- Don't let too many cooks in the kitchen. Once a kitchen is overcrowded, obvious hazards can get overlooked.
- Roll up your sleeves! Don't let your clothing catch fire.
- Keep a sturdy lid within reach to snuff out any containable fires.
- Practice winter fire safety at the holidays.
- Don't leave your holiday lights running all day, and don't connect more than three strands of lights together.
- Don't leave burning candles unattended. Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything flammable, including wood floors.
- Have family emergency and communications plans in case a fire breaks out.
- Read all of the winter holiday fire safety tips from ServiceMaster Restore®.
With these tips in mind, you can enjoy a wonderful winter season without too much worry. If the unexpected does occur, remember that ServiceMaster Restore® is always here for you. We offer our fire and smoke damage services 24/7/365 so you can get your life back as soon as possible after a fire – at any time of year.