The thought of a house fire is terrifying to most people. Where would you live, and how would you pay for all the costs involved with rebuilding? And what about all your irreplaceable possessions? Worse yet, what if a member of your family was injured or killed in the fire? 

Tragically, hundreds of thousands of people are forced to answer these questions every year in the U.S. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are approximately 353,500 residential fires every year, resulting in more than 11,000 personal injuries and close to 3,000 deaths. 

You already know that installing smoke alarms saves lives, but you may need to learn about the other important steps you can take to prevent a fire in the first place. Understanding the most common causes of a residential fire can help you protect your family and your property

1. Cooking

Cooking is the leading cause of residential fires. FEMA reported that the practice causes approximately 170,000 home fires every year. That equals nearly half of all home fires overall. Most cooking fires happen either because there are combustible materials, such as kitchen towels, left too close to working burners or because cooktops are left unattended. 

2. Heating Equipment

Electric baseboard heaters, space heaters, gas fireplaces, and other portable heating devices are the second leading cause of residential fires. To prevent these fires, follow all use instructions carefully. Make sure to keep clothing and other combustible items away from portable heaters and place them a safe distance away from walls and furniture. 

The guidelines included with heating equipment are not merely suggestions. These products have undergone strenuous safety testing to prevent accidents like burns and fires. 

3. Electrical Fires

Faulty wiring and malfunctioning electrical outlets cause more than 500 fire-related deaths each year. Arcing, a type of electrical discharge, is another common and potentially hazardous electrical problem. 

To protect against electrical fires and accidents, it’s important that you hire only licensed and certified electricians to work in your home. Call a qualified electrician if you notice flickering lights, buzzing outlets, hot or smoking light switches, or any other electrical issues. 

4. Smoking

Smoking may be the fourth leading cause of home fires, but it is the number-one cause of fire fatalities. The death rate from smoking-related fires is five times higher than that of other fire types. 

One reason for the high fatality rate is that smoking fires are caused when a person falls asleep while still holding a cigar or cigarette. Their close proximity to the fire makes it even more difficult to escape the flames once they begin. 

5. Open Flames

Unattended candles and other open flames can quickly lead to a house fire. The risk of a candle fire can be completely eliminated by using flameless candles instead. If you must use real candles, place them on solid, level surfaces where children and pets cannot reach them. Also, candles should be placed at least 12 inches from combustible items, and never leave them unattended. 

Don’t Take Chances

Accidents happen, but many home fires can be prevented by installing smoke detectors in your home and keeping them in working order. In addition, make sure to place fire extinguishers in easy-to-reach places and teach every member of the family how to use them. 

Also, it’s crucial that there be clear access to the outside from every room in your home, and you should schedule occasional fire drills so everyone in the family knows how to exit safely in case of any emergency. 

By following these guidelines, you can significantly reduce the chances of a home fire.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in New York City

If you’ve been injured in a fire home accident in Manhattan, NY, and need legal help, contact our New York City personal injury lawyers at Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C. to schedule a free consultation.

Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C.
100 Wall St 15th Floor
New York, NY 10005
(212) 514-5007