Winter is primetime for house fires. You might be surprised to find out that nearly a third of all house fires happen between December and February. There are a lot of reasons for this, and we’ll explore them each below and what you can do to avoid them! Many house fires are preventable, so follow our tips to keep your home fire-free this winter, and in winters to come.
Fireplaces get the most use during winter months. You should get your fireplace & chimney cleaned regularly to avoid the risk of fire. However, even when your flue and fireplace are well-kept, there is still potential danger lurking about. The heat produced from the fire can make its way to connecting wood structures and start them on fire. Make sure you ALWAYS completely extinguish any fire in your fireplace—embers can smolder long after you put a fire out and put your home at risk while you’re away or asleep. When a fire is burning, make sure to keep flammable objects at least five feet away.
Candles are at the root of about 3% of house fires nationwide. The problem with candles is that all-too-often, residents burn candles near things like curtains or tablecloths that can easily catch fire. If you’re going to burn a candle, make sure that it is in a candle holder and that it is far away from anything flammable. Also make sure to always blow them out when you leave a room. Keep them out of reach from children and pets.
Stove-top cooking is one of the leading causes of house fires regardless of the time of year. Never leave the house without turning the oven off and never leave the room while the stove is on. Keep your oven mitts, towels, and anything else that could catch fire far away from the stovetop at all times. If you find yourself facing a grease-fire, remember: smother it! Don’t try to put water on it, as you’ll only make it worse!
Cold winter months in drafty homes call for space heaters, but be careful when using them! They are the leading cause of house fires in the winter. Keep your space heater at least three feet from anything flammable, plug it directly into the wall rather than using a hazardous extension cord, and try not to sleep with the space heater on. Most accidents actually happen while someone is sleeping.