As temperatures drop and homeowners seek ways to stay warm during the winter, the risk of house fires can increase significantly. Knowing what causes the most house fires during the winter is crucial to protecting your home. Understand the following potential fire hazards to prevent them in the coming winter months.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that heating equipment is the leading cause of home fires, with nearly half occurring during the winter months. This equipment includes space heaters, furnaces, and fireplaces. Follow these safety tips to minimize the risks associated with heating equipment:
- Place space heaters at least three feet away from combustible materials such as curtains, furniture, or bedding.
- Inspect your furnace regularly for potential issues and schedule annual maintenance with a qualified professional.
- Keep your fireplace clean and use a protective screen to prevent embers from escaping.
Faulty electrical wiring and overloaded circuits are another common cause of winter house fires. Follow these electrical safety guidelines to stay safe:
- Avoid overloading electrical outlets and power strips with multiple appliances.
- Regularly inspect cords and plugs for signs of wear or damage and replace them as needed.
- Schedule electrical system inspections with a certified electrician, particularly in older homes.
Cooking is a year-round hazard, but the holiday season can be particularly taxing on your kitchen. Increased cooking time and more complex recipes can create opportunities for accidents. Consider these tips to reduce the risk of kitchen fires:
- Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stove and keep a close eye on your food.
- Keep flammable items such as oven mitts and paper towels away from the stovetop.
- Equip your kitchen with a fire extinguisher and know how to use it properly.
Candles and Decorations
Candles and flammable holiday decorations can be extremely hazardous, especially when left unattended. Keep your home safe during the winter months with these suggestions:
- Always extinguish candles before leaving a room or going to bed.
- Use non-flammable decorations and avoid placing decorations too close to heat sources.
- Opt for LED candles, which provide the same ambiance without the risk of an open flame.
Homeowners must know what causes the most house fires during the winter to keep their homes and families safe. You can avoid a disastrous winter by taking proper preventative measures. Should you encounter the unfortunate event of a house fire, fire damage restoration services can be a valuable resource to support you when recovering your home and belongings.