How to Avoid Fire Damage from Seven Common Winter Fire Hazards
Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County offers tips on avoiding seven common winter fire hazards.
Experiencing a house fire and having to go through a fire damage disaster can be emotionally and financially devastating. The team at SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County understands the stress and anxiety of such a traumatic disruption. Years of experience helping customers put their lives back together have made the company one of the highest-rated service providers in the property damage restoration industry. From the initial call until the job is finished, the technicians at SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County have the knowledge and determination to make a property damage disaster “Like it never even happened.”
Seven Winter Fire Hazards to Avoid
To experience a house fire is traumatic. Within minutes, the home can be engulfed in flames. According to the American Red Cross, “Home fires can happen at any time, but they generally increase during the fall and winter, with December and January being the peak months. Home fires are also more common on Saturday and Sunday and tend to peak between 6:00 PM and 7:00 PM. Where are home fires most likely to start? Home fires are more likely to start in the kitchen than any other room in the home. The second leading cause of home fires are heating sources like wood stoves and fireplaces. Fires caused by smoking are the leading cause of deaths.”
To help keep the holidays and winter months safe, the SERVPRO team in Crowley, TX, explains seven winter fire hazards and offers tips to avoid them.
- Cooking fires in the kitchen
More house fires start in the kitchen than any other room in the house. Grease fires are a leading cause of kitchen fires. During the holiday season, the stove and oven are centers of activity. To prevent a cooking fire, never leave the kitchen unattended while food is cooling on the stove. If a situation arises that requires attention in another room, turn off the stove burners that are involved in the cooking, and if possible, remove the pot or pan from the hot burner. Be sure to have the appropriate fire extinguisher handy should a cooking fire, such as a grease fire, occur.
- Heating equipment: wood stoves, chimneys, and space heaters
To prevent this winter fire hazard, keep combustibles at least three feet away from the heat source. Combustibles include furniture, curtains, and pets. Have the chimney and wood stove inspected and cleaned annually.
Use newer space heaters that are UL-approved. Over time, dust can build up in a space heater and create a fire hazard. Annually cleaning the heater is strongly advised. Do not use an extension cord with a space heater, and do not plug the heater into an overloaded circuit.
- Christmas trees
Frequently water a live Christmas tree. If the needles begin to fall off, the time has arrived to discard the tree. Once dry needles ignite, the tree can become a raging fireball in seconds. Take down Christmas decorations soon after the holiday season. Inspect extension cords for frayed wiring. Make sure outlets are not overloaded.
- Candle fires: decorative and religious
Candles are one of the most common causes of house fires during the winter months. The month of December is the peak time for candle fires in the home. In many instances, the fire begins when decorations come into contact with the candle’s flame. An unstable candelabra displaying religious or decorative candles may tip over, potentially causing a fire. Consider using electric or solar candles. Extinguish candles when they are not in use or if they are left unattended.
- Electrical fires: faulty wiring, overloaded circuits, and extension cords
Before installation, inspect Christmas lights and other electrical decorations for damaged or frayed cords. Avoid overloading circuits or receptacles. Carefully inspect extension cords before usage since a frayed or damaged cord could cause a fire or result in electrocution and death. The few extra dollars spent on a properly rated heavy-duty extension cord could save thousands in fire damage or hospital bills.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, “Fireworks started an estimated 19,500 fires in 2018, including 1,900 structure fires, 500 vehicle fires, and 17,100 outside and other fires. These fires caused five deaths, 46 civilian injuries, and $105 million in direct property damage.”
The handling and use of fireworks are prohibited within the corporate limits of Crowley, TX, as in most cities in Texas. Nevertheless, fireworks are popular around holidays, especially New Year’s Eve. Following the manufacturer’s directions, including adult supervision, is strongly recommended.
- Grills and fire pits
The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly expanded the use of outdoor grills and fire pits. These simple safety tips should keep everyone safe. Position the grill or fire pit at least ten feet away from any structure. A clean grill is a safe grill. Never leave a grill or fire pit unattended. Keep a fire extinguisher or bucket of sand nearby in case the fire gets out of control.
Finally, have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of the house and inspect them regularly. Install ten-year, long-life batteries in the detection units. Locate fully charged and working fire extinguishers in the kitchen, garage, and near the Christmas tree. Have an evacuation plan in place so that, in the stressful environment of a fire, everyone knows what to do and where to go.
In the case of fire and water damage, the team of experts at SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County have the equipment, tools, training, and expertise to take control of the situation and begin the water and fire damage restoration process before advanced secondary damage begins to take place.
For more information about fire damage restoration in Crowley, TX, contact the office by phone at (817) 297-8588 or by email at office@SERVPROcrowley.com.