A pan left unattended, a heater that's too close to the curtains, a candle tipped over...just a few of the many human errors that lead to a home fire. According to the Nation Fire Prevention Association, almost 80% of all deaths caused by fire happen within the home. Yes, the average household is a hotbed (no pun intended) of fire hazards. Although deaths due to house fires have steadily declined over the years, one person lost is still one too many. This is especially true because house fires are luckily very preventable.

Since the start of the pandemic, many of us have never spent so much time at home.  Our homes are now our office, our gym, and our school,  which means more chances for mistakes that can lead to a fire at home. As we enter the season for holiday cooking and festive lights, we need to be extra cautious. 

In this list, we take a look at the biggest causes of home fires, and the measures we can take to make sure our homes, and more importantly, the people inside, stay safe.

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    1

    Cooking

    Cooking related causes are responsible for nearly 50% of all house fires. To avoid becoming part of this statistic, stay in the kitchen while cooking, or turn off any active heat sources before leaving. Keep cooking tools and other flammable objects away from the stove.  Avoid long sleeves or loose clothing that may potentially catch fire, and make sure outdoor grills are at least 10 feet away from siding and deck railings, and away from any overhanging branches that could fall on top. 

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    2

    Smoking

    Smoking causes almost a quarter of house fire deaths, so consider quitting if possible. If this not possible, smoke outside and make sure all butts are completely put out in an appropriate receptacle. If you don’t own a receptacle specifically designed to safely contain cigarettes butts, soak them in water before disposing of them. Also, never smoke in bed, in a home where oxygen is used, after drinking, while sleepy or otherwise unalert.

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    3

    Heaters

    Heaters are the second leading cause of house fires, so it is crucial to make sure our heating units meet the proper safety standards. Make sure to only buy heaters that are evaluated from a nationally recognized lab, such as Underwriters Laboratories. It is also important to purchase heaters that have a mechanism that turns it off when tipped over. Don’t forget to make sure all flammable items are at least  3 feet away from heaters as well.

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    4

    Fireplaces

    The last significant cause of house fires is the misuse of fireplaces. People with chimneys need to have them inspected and cleaned at least once a year and must check monthly for obstructions or damage. Use a heavy-duty screen for any fireplace in order to shield the home from any firewood that might shift and flying sparks.