According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there are nearly 350,000 home structure fires each year in the United States. Annually, such fires cause over 2,500 deaths, over 11,000 injuries, and cost homeowners $7.3 billion in damages.

To help you reduce your chances of a house fire, we at Aftermath Adjusters and Consulting would like to show you the leading causes and offer a few tips to keep you safe.

1.  Cooking

Almost half of all residential fires are caused by cooking, and a majority of these fires are due to grease. If you heat your cooking oil above 375 degrees Fahrenheit, the oil will begin to smoke and then burst into flames.

For accidental grease fires, here are some things you can do:

  • If possible, pull the pan off the heat source
  • Cover the oil with a nonflammable lid
  • Pour baking soda over the fire – do not use other baking materials such as baking powder or flour because these are flammable
  • Use a fire extinguisher – Class B
  • If the fire has grown too large, leave your house and call 911

Remember, with a grease fire, you should never use water to try to extinguish the flames.

2. Portable Heaters

Florida is a warm, sunny state, but occasionally, temperatures dip down low enough that residents bring out the portable heaters. Unfortunately, these are the second-leading cause of home fires. Why? Mostly because those using the space heaters don’t follow the directions for use.

To use a portable heater safely, you should:

  1. Follow the spatial requirements on the label of your space heater. These requirements tell you how far away from walls and furniture the heater must be to prevent fires.
  2. Always remove flammable things from around a space heater – look for piles of clothes, draperies, and even lamp shades.
  3. Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
  4. Consider using an electrical space heater rather than one that uses fuel like kerosene.

3. Electricity

The third main cause of house fires is faulty wiring or electrical outlets. Since this is a hidden danger, it is important to be proactive.

To avoid electrical fires, you should:

  • Have the electrical system inspected
  • Make sure fixtures are up to code
  • Replace any frayed wiring on appliances

4. Smoking

Another fire hazard is smoking materials including cigarettes, pipes, and cigars. Although fires are unlikely to start with someone who is actively smoking, they do start when someone forgets they have something lit. It can also occur if they fall asleep while smoking.

To avoid this fire hazard:

  • Consider smoking outdoors
  • Do not leave cigarettes unattended
  • Remain alert while smoking
  • Be sure cigarette and cigar butts are fully extinguished

5. Candles

Everyone loves candles. They smell good and offer a great way to relax. However, they can – and do – cause house fires.

To be sure you are safe when using a candle:

  • Do not leave candles unattended
  • Consider using battery-operated candles instead
  • Keep candles at least one foot away from flammable materials

Experiencing a home fire is devastating, but Aftermath Adjusters and Consulting is here to help. If you are having trouble with a fire claim, give us a call. We will ensure that you get the claim you are entitled to.