House fires are a major cause of property damage, personal injury, and even death. But most are preventable. Here are the top causes of home blazes, and what you can do to ensure your home and family are prepared and fire safe.
Fire coverage is something that instantly springs to mind when one thinks about home insurance, but what actually causes these fires often only gets thought about when it’s too late.
According to a recent Queensland Times article, statistics across the state indicate that there have been over 550 house fire call outs between January and May this year, with 12 lives lost due to fire related deaths at the time of publishing. However, most fatal fires are preventable. With a little foresight and planning, risks can be minimised, and damage can be mitigated or avoided completely.
So, what are the top causes of household fires, and what precautions can you take?
Old or Faulty Smoke Alarms
The most important thing you should do is check that you have properly functioning smoke alarms. Old alarms need to be replaced, batteries need to be checked every month by pressing the test button on the device, and they should be kept free of obstructions, such as dust and cobwebs. Smoke alarms that are operating correctly are absolutely crucial to house fire protection, and act as a safety net for everything else on this list.
Objects Near Heaters And Fireplaces
Anything in the vicinity of heaters or fireplaces, especially flammable objects, pose a fire threat and could catch alight. Keep objects at least two metres away, and never leave the area unchecked or unattended.
Incorrect Use Of Power Outlets And Appliances
Overloaded power outlets form a major fire risk. Go easy on multi-adaptors; unplug electrical appliances when not in use and when leaving the house; and, only charge items when they can be regularly checked on, and away from flammable objects.
Distraction can lead to disaster. A burnt meal may be the least of your worries if a stovetop is left unattended. Ensure you are careful and present, especially in the kitchen, and always turn appliances off when done with cooking.
It’s also important to have a plan if a blaze does occur. Sit down with your family and discuss your exact plan if a smoke alarm does trigger. Programs like the Queensland Government’s Great Escape are fantastic resources to ensure your family is prepared for such a situation.