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Avoiding Common Fire Hazards at Home
Keeping the home safe is typically a homeowner’s chief goal. Home fires cause millions of dollars in damage every year: About 30 percent of fires in Canada happen at home, but they cause about three-quarters of fire-related deaths. Understanding the common causes of fires can help homeowners take steps to prevent them in the first place.
Heating the home can be a typical source of fire dangers, simply because so many heat sources involve flame or combustion. Anything that produces heat, from a wood-burning stove to a furnace, needs plenty of clearance. Many buildings and homes have fireplaces that are either gas or burn wood. If something flammable sits too close to a space heater, fireplace or open flame, it might catch fire. Homeowners should ensure that all heating equipment they use is in good condition with regular upkeep. They must keep children, pets, and belongings at least a meter from the heat source. Furnaces and heat pumps are built to be used with or without an adult present, but other heating equipment should only be turned on or used with supervision.
Fires related to cooking are the most common. A fire could start when someone is cooking in a couple of different ways. First, the flame itself from a gas-powered range could burn skin or clothing. Second, even a range running on electricity could catch something else on fire. To avoid this problem, people need to be aware of the hot spots on their range and oven. Adequate ventilation can help to reduce the effects of smoke accumulation and other emissions. People should avoid putting items that are not heat-safe on top or in the oven, especially if it is turned on or has been used recently.
Watching a lightning storm displays the awesome, raw power of electricity. Although the home can tame electric power to some degree, homeowners still have to take caution. Electrical outlets should only be used as directed. Parents need to keep children from using or playing with plugs and outlets. If people notice a problem, they should ask an electrician for assistance. A damaged plug, cord, or outlet could spark an electrical fire. Periodically checking all outlets and the circuit panel, and minimizing overuse of any one outlet, can help reduce the likelihood of a crisis.
Of course, the most obvious source of fire in the home is an actual flame. Although most people would not light a fire in the middle of the living room, they might not think anything of lighting a candle or a cigarette in the same space. Flameless candles are an excellent way to provide ambient light without increasing the risk of fire. People should plan to smoke outside, or smoke with an appropriate ashtray nearby. In either case, homeowners must confirm that the flame is completely extinguished before they can safely leave the room.
Sometimes, the biggest problem in the home is not the thing that starts the fire, but rather the item that carries the flame. There are many types of materials in the home that could catch fire and rapidly spread it from room to room. These include:
All of these fire dangers become significantly greater in the hands of someone who is ill-equipped to manage them. Adults who are very sleepy or under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medicine may be more likely to make a deadly mistake while cooking or cleaning. Young children need to stay away from (and not have easy access to) heat sources, electrical equipment, and candles, lest they knock something over and start a fire. Alert adult supervision is the best hedge against disaster.
In order to prevent home fires from damaging their property, residents must take preventive steps. With these tips, they can minimize their overall fire risk.
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