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7 Common Fire Hazards You Probably Don’t Think About

7 Common Fire Hazards You Probably Don’t Think About

We all do our part to ensure our homes are safe and protected from fire. We change our fire alarm batteries every spring and fall and we don’t leave our fires unattended. But there are many ways an innocent spark can turn into a dangerous blaze. Prevention is the best way to avoid a tragic fire. Check out these seven common fire hazards you probably don’t think about.

#1: Chemicals

Many of us don’t realize it, but hazardous chemicals don’t need an open flame to be dangerous. Not only do the vapours of our common cleaning products, motor oils, and flammable liquids give off noxious fumes, but if exposed to high heat they can ignite. To avoid this catastrophe, be sure to properly seal all your products and to store them in a cool, dry place away from children.

#2: Barbecues

While barbecues are typically always surrounded by family and friends as they enjoy their summery drinks and wait for their ribs to cook, they are intrinsically dangerous. The fire is already lit, so it’s your job to make sure that it stays maintained and doesn’t catch anything else, such as a loose apron, a lost piece of food, or even facial hair! Keep your BBQ a safe distance from the house, clean your grate, and always remember to shut off your gas.

#3: Heaters

Electric and space heaters generate plenty of heat which is low to the ground where anything—like a sock or a drape—might surreptitiously get too close. To prevent a surprise fire, let common sense prevail. Ensure that fabrics aren’t too close to the heat source and never leave your heater unattended. If you smell smoke coming from the wire, unplug the heater immediately. Send it in for repairs or throw it out.

#4: Unattended Children

Curiosity and tactile learning is what childhood is all about. We don’t fault your children for finding a box of matches or a BBQ lighter. However, we do think young children should not be left unattended and older children should be taught the important lesson of fire safety. Keep matches and lighters hidden, but also show them how to properly use them so that they may be more inclined to be responsible.

#6: Careless Smoking

It’s no secret that lit cigarettes have done their fair share of damage not only to homes, but to entire forests. For some reason, however, cigarettes continue to be a reason for house fires. Drifting sparks from a nearly butted out cigarette are sometimes all it takes to set curtains on fire. Our best advice: quit smoking altogether. In the meantime, invest in deep-set ashtrays and keep your cigarettes away from flammable items. Better yet, confine your smoking to outside, but don’t toss your cigarettes over the balcony!

#6: Walking Away From a Heat Source

In other words, negligence. Sure, you’ve had your appliances for a long time and can predict, almost with complete accuracy, how they work. But you never know. A piece of bread might fall through your toaster and get caught on the filament. Your hair straightener could touch something flammable like a nearby tissue box. When you’re not close by, you have less time to react in the event of a small flame. Don’t leave things plugged in and turned on unattended.

#7: Faulty Wiring

Most often seen in old houses or careless electrical jobs, faulty wiring can cause a spark at any moment, without you even knowing it. If you suspect your house is using old wiring, none of your modern electronics are safe. Don’t attempt to fix this problem on your own. Hire a licenced electrician to reconfigure the wiring in your home.

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