At first, it may seem highly unlikely for fires to happen during cold weather. However, the American Red Cross says home fires peak in December and January. Moreover, a 2018 report from the U.S. Fire Administration showed that around 108,200 winter residential building fires were reported in a year. These incidents resulted in 980 deaths, 3,575 injuries, and property loss of $1.9 billion.
Lower temperatures alone can’t start flames, but they create conditions that make fires more common. For example, with more heating appliances turned on during the colder months, the risks of experiencing a property fire increase dramatically.
While there are experts you can call for fire restoration in Suffolk County, there are ways to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from devastating flames. Kickstart your preparations by watching out for these common causes of winter fires.
Cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the United States. With the colder weather making warm, homemade meals even more enticing during this time, it’s best to practice caution in the kitchen.
Here are some pointers to remember as you prepare your favorite winter warmer recipes:
- Check all cooking appliances for defects like broken wires before using them.
- Never leave food cooking unattended, especially if it has or produces grease. Grease fires can start when the oil becomes too hot and boils.
- Keep flammable materials like potholders and kitchen towels away from the stove and other cooking appliances.
Cooking is the country’s top cause of residential building fires, but heating takes the spotlight during the cooler months. Whichever heating appliance or equipment you use to keep your home comfortably warm, remember that improper use can quickly cause a fire. Poor user maintenance can also start a little spark that can burst into flames in a second.
Follow these home heating safety tips to steer clear of home fires and injuries:
- Have your space heaters and central heating systems checked annually.
- Give heaters enough space and keep flammable items at least three feet away.
- Place space heaters on stable, level ground.
- Use a fireplace screen to keep embers from escaping and protect your loved ones from accidental burns.
- Maintain a briskly burning fire using dry wood to prevent creosote buildup. This is a highly flammable byproduct of unburned wood, smoke, and vapor that can catch fire at the right temperature.
It’s great to have scented candles on during colder weather. Besides releasing your favorite aroma into the air, they also set the perfect atmosphere for staying warm and cozy. However, like your cooking appliances and heating equipment, improper safety precautions can pose a hazard to your home.
If you must use your candles, remember to exercise caution. Never leave them unattended, nor keep them burning through the night. It’s best to extinguish them before heading to bed.
A Malfunctioning Smoke Alarm
Smoke alarms are meant to save lives. They alert you when it detects smoke, giving you more time to keep small flames from spreading or vacate the premises. Unfortunately, most house fires happen in residential buildings with malfunctioning smoke alarms – or none at all.
The National Fire Protection Association recommends testing smoke detectors at least once a month and replacing the batteries at least once a year. However, if you have a detecting device that’s over 10 years old, consider getting a replacement to be safe. Lastly, if you live in a multistory home, it’s best to install smoke alarms inside each bedroom and on every level of the house.
The Next Steps: Seek Help From Experts in Fire Restoration in Suffolk County
Although house fires become more common as the weather gets colder, being careful with the items mentioned can help you avert devastating fires and the wreckage they can bring to your home. Most importantly, taking safety precautions keeps you and your family safe and sound through the colder months.
With that said, know that expert help is also available around the clock if a fire starts in your home. Restoration 1 offers 24/7 response to address your emergency as quickly as possible. Call us anytime for efficient and reliable fire restoration in Suffolk County; we’ll be there to help you get things back to normal.