Posted by Sedgwick’s temporary housing division on
Sedgwick’s temporary housing division sees many causes of property damage, but fire accounts for a third of the claims we handle. Preventing a fire is much easier than fighting a fire, but you should be sure there are working fire extinguishers on every level of your home. A fire can take seconds to spread. Smoke usually leads to more problems than the actual fire, preventing sight and suffocating victims when inhaled. The most common time of year for fires in 2016, according to our internal company data, was in December and January. These fires occur amidst holidays and cold weather when fireplaces are put to use and Christmas trees are lit. Here are the five most common causes of home fires according to the National Fire Protection Association, and different ways to prevent them.
Overburdened electrical outlets caused the most damage according to the NFPA. $1.4 billion in property damage resulted from avoidable electrical mishaps. Be sure to use shock protectors or power strips with internal overload shut-off protection. Never plug one power strip into another. If a cord feels hot or warm then it may be overburdened. Only use outdoor power cording for outdoor appliances. Try to turn off all the lights before going to sleep. Make sure nothing flammable is stored near an outlet and schedule regular checkups with your electrician.
Cooking-related fires caused the second-highest amount of property damage last year with approximately $853 million in necessary home repairs. Most kitchen fires involve grease, which can be additionally hazardous. Never throw water on a grease fire. The water will evaporate and push all the flames upward and away from the pot of burning oil. Potholders, dish towels, and other flammables should be kept well away from stovetops. There should always be a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and everyone should know how to use it.
Indoor smoking caused more than $516 million in property damage last year and is the third-highest costing cause of fire. The most catastrophic damage done resulted from smoking around oxygen tanks. Smoking outside is the best way to avoid starting a house fire, but if you must smoke inside, use large, sturdy ashtrays, and make sure open windows or fans aren’t blowing embers through the air.
Unattended candles might be the most avoidable cause of fire. Candles caused $418 million in property damage bringing them up to the number 4 highest costing cause of fire. You should never light a candle under or near something flammable. Always blow out lit candles when leaving a room or lying down to go to sleep. Candles should be fitted into tight candle holders that are placed on level surfaces so they do not fall over.
Last year dryer and other appliance malfunctions totaled more than $236 million in property damage. Most dryer-related fires are started by one of two things: dryer lint builds up inside the dryer, or something is blocking the vent pipe leading out of the dryer. Always make sure your lint catcher is clear before starting the dryer, and check the vent pipe regularly, making sure there are no kinks or obstructions. Sedgwick’s temporary housing division knows that not all fires are avoidable. We work 24/7/365 to make sure every family has a safe, comfortable place to sleep at night. If you have additional fire prevention tips leave us a comment!