House fires are very dangerous and can be devastating. Even small house fires can cause a lot of damage and could cause a serious injury to anyone involved. House fires are often unexpected and caused by very simple things.
Even with a fire alarm, it is difficult to catch a fire in time to prevent damage or injury. The best thing to do is educate yourself on what causes house fires so you can remain vigilant and avoid taking risks. But what are the main causes of house fires?
We have put together this guide to give you all the information you need on the most common causes of house fires. Keep reading to find out more.
Almost half of all house fires are caused by cooking. It is definitely one of the most common causes of house fires and could affect anyone at any time.
Any type of cooking could lead to a house fire, but the biggest culprit is a grease based fire. Deep fat fryers are mostly to blame.
This is because if the oil gets too hot it will begin to release smoke, and at a certain temperature it will burst into flames.
How To Avoid Cooking Fires
If you want to avoid causing a cooking fire in your kitchen, make sure that you do not leave the source of heat unattended.
This is especially important for deep fat fryers or anything on the stove. If something is cooking on a low heat for a long period of time - like a simmering stew - then you could leave the room for up to a few minutes at a time.
However, you will need to return regularly to check that everything is okay. If you think you will forget, do not leave the kitchen.
Make sure you set timers to remind yourself when the food is finished cooking. If you leave something in the oven for too long it will not only burn, but it could set on fire.
Make sure that you have a fire alarm in your kitchen so that you are aware of fires as soon as possible. The more time you have to react the less damage there will be.
What To Do If There Is A Grease Fire In Your Kitchen
If you have a grease fire in your kitchen, try not to panic. A fire needs heat, oxygen and fuel in order to burn, so to tackle the fire you need to remove one or all of these things. Follow these steps as quickly and calmly as possible:
- Turn off the heat
- If possible, cover the lit oil with a metal lid. This will starve the fire of oxygen. If you cannot do this, pour baking soda over the fire to dampen the flames. Do not use any other kind of baking ingredients as this could make the fire worse.
- If you have a chemical fire extinguisher in your kitchen then you can use it to put out the fire
- Do not move the pot with the fire in it, as this could cause the fire to spread through the kitchen. The flames could easily come into contact with combustible materials while you are moving the pot.
- Do not use any water on the fire, as there are electrical appliances in the kitchen and water conducts electricity
- If you cannot put out the fire, then escape the house immediately and call the fire department.
Portable heaters are another common cause of house fires. This is mainly because people fail to follow the manufacturer's advice about leaving enough space between the heater and other items.
If a heater is too close to curtains, upholstered furniture, laundry, blankets or other flammable items then a fire could easily start in your home.
The safety instructions for portable heaters are very important. Make sure you read them carefully before using your portable heater for the first time.
Another way that portable heaters can cause house fires is if they are not maintained properly.
You need to make sure that you check the heater over periodically for signs of damage or wear, including any electrical cables.
You should also check for blockages and keep the heater dust-free.
How To Avoid Heater Fires
Always follow the safety instructions and leave a big enough gap between the heater and other objects or materials.
If you notice any frayed cables or wear and tear then carry out the necessary repairs or hire a professional to do this for you.
If you notice a strange smell while the heater is on, switch it off immediately.
Electrical faults can cause a lot of house fires. This could be faulty wiring, damaged electrical cables, or overloading plug sockets and extension cables.
Before you move into a property make sure that you have the electrical system checked by a professional to ensure that it meets the necessary safety standards.
How To Avoid Electrical Fires
Make sure that you never overload a plug socket. Check the power of each item plugged into a multi-socket to ensure that you have not gone over the limit.
If you notice lights dimming when you are using a certain electrical appliance, it is probably faulty and could cause a fire.
If you notice a burning smell then turn off the electricity and check plug sockets and cables for signs of damage or burning, and check for overheating appliances.
Check the cables of your electrical appliances regularly for damage.
There are lots of things that can cause house fires. As well as the causes mentioned above, there are other things that lead to a lot of house fires such as cigarettes and candles.
Make sure that you take necessary precautions when cooking, using heating devices, or any electrical appliances so that you can avoid a fire.
If you notice a fire in your home, try to stay calm. If you cannot put it out safely then evacuate the building and call the fire department.