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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

The Most Common Causes of Fire Damage (and How to Avoid Them)

8/9/2019 (Permalink)

The Most Common Causes of Fire Damage (and How to Avoid Them)

We’re not going to mince words here: Fire damage sucks. As we all know, a fire can be detrimental to your property, health, and pocketbook. But, we can tell you that fire damage is not the end of the world. It’s possible to bounce back.

Of course, we understand that you’re probably not here for advice on the aftermath of fires.  Certainly, you’re here for recommendations on how to prevent fire damage from happening. Well, we can help with that as well!

You see, the techs at SERVPRO of North Irving have been in the fire and water cleanup biz for over three decades. When folks are looking for fire restoration in Dallas, we’re the ones they call. For this reason, we’ve decided to share the most common causes of fire damage as well as how to prevent them.

1. Cooking

We’re starting with the leading cause of home fires and fire-related injuries. It’s no wonder why kitchen fires pose a fire threat. After all, it’s where open flames and heat live. It’s relatively easy for items such as oil, food, clothing, and paper towels to quickly catch fire.

Fortunately, the best way to prevent kitchen fires is simple: Pay attention to what you’re cooking. If you have to walk away when the stove or oven is on, make sure someone else is watching it in your absence.

(In case you’re wondering, yes — kitchen fires are the main reason why we’re called in for fire restoration in Dallas.)

2. Smoking

It’s not pleasant to talk about it but smoking is the number one cause of residential fires resulting in death. You’ve probably heard the stories before: Someone falls asleep while smoking and wakes up to a burning bed or couch. Or, a cigarette doesn’t get fully extinguished so it continues to burn until it turns into a big fire.

Simply put, smoking indoors is not a safe practice. And, it’s not just cigarettes that we’re talking about. E-cigarettes also pose risks since some malfunctions can cause them to explode. If you need a cigarette or e-cig, try only using them outdoors. And, when putting out a cigarette, ensure that it is properly extinguished.

3. Heaters

Following cigarettes, the portable heater is the next major cause of fire-related deaths. It’s all innocent enough. It gets cold in the winter so you fire up the furnace or heater. But, you may also break out the space heater to help you get a little toastier. This is fine but just be careful while it’s on.

When using a portable heater, place it in an area that’s free of curtains and furniture. Also, keep your clothing and body parts away from the heating elements. And, don’t leave a small heater running if you’re not around to keep an eye on it.

4. Malfunctioning Appliances and Wiring

Appliance and/or wiring issues are the leading causes of electrical fires. A significant problem that arises here is that these fires are often hard to extinguish since water conducts electricity.

There are many possible culprits of electrical fires:

  •     Faulty outlets
  •     Frayed cords
  •     Aging appliances
  •     Running cords under carpet or rugs
  •     Too many plugs in one outlet or power strip

Obviously, you have the ability to control what appliances you use and how many electrical items are plugged in. When it comes to wiring issues, however, it’s wise to enlist the help of an electrician to figure out the problem. The best preparation for electrical fires is to make sure you have a fire extinguisher that handles class C fires (there should be a label on the cannister).

If an appliance catches fire, unplug the device as soon as you can (or turn off the electricity if you can’t get to the plug). If you find yourself sans an extinguisher when a small electrical fire breaks out, try pouring baking soda over the flames.

5.  Chemicals

If you’re like a countless number of homeowners and business owners, you probably have a spot where you keep chemicals. There’s a good chance that a flammable liquid is lurking around in there somewhere.

While we’re not suggesting that you run to a trashcan and dump out all your chemicals, we do suggest reading the labels. Pay attention to the storage recommendation and follow it accordingly. And, when you’re using a flammable chemical, handle it with care.

6. Fireplace

Fireplaces are excellent for setting a cozy mood. But, a fireplace holds a hidden danger: Buildup. Creosote is a flammable matter that can build up and cause a fire to spread from a chimney to other parts of a building or house. Also, animals can get into chimney spaces and leave behind fire-catching debris.

Luckily, there aren’t too many steps involved in fireplace maintenance:

  •     Look for brown or black buildup in the fireplace and chimney.
  •     Check for critter nests and debris.
  •     If you notice any problematic material, utilize a chimney sweeping service.
  •     Perform a fireplace inspection at least once a year.

7. Candles

Candles are delightful. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy the smell of cake and cookies without eventually ingesting calories! However, an open flame is always a hazard.

Responsible candle ownership is key here. Never leave your candles unattended, always blow out lit candles before you leave a room, and make sure there are no flammable items near your candles (i.e. paper, facial tissue, and chemicals).

8. Childhood Wonderment

We’re sure your children (and the children you know) are little angels. But, it’s just the nature of kids to be curious (and sometimes even a little mischievous). It’s not unheard of for a child to light a small fire that quickly rages out of control. 

Teaching kids the dangers of playing with fire is important. If you have matches, lighters, or flammable liquids, put them in a safe place that’s not accessible to children. Additionally, regularly check your smoke detectors to make sure they’re functioning correctly.

Need Fire Restoration in Dallas?

Get in touch with us! For over three decades, SERVPRO of North Irving has been a go-to fire damage expert. We’re a full-service agency who is available 24/7, and we specialize in fire damage assessment, smoke and soot removal, emergency board-up and tarp services, and cleaning and repair. Plus, if there is water present, we handle water removal and drying as well.

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