Did you know the winter season is prime time for residential fires? With the shorter days, frigid temperatures, and all that holiday food prep, Minnesota residents create far more fire hazards in December and January than any other time of year. Since the holidays are nearly upon us, and because you’ve probably already thought about kindling a fire to keep you warm, it’s critical to keep an eye out for fire dangers. What are some of the most common residential fire hazards, and what can you do to keep yourself safe? The fire restoration experts at Kiser Construction explain below.
Make Sure Your Smoke Alarm is Functional
One of the quickest and easiest things you can do to help protect your home and loved ones is to check the batteries in your smoke detectors at least once per month. And if you have hardwired smoke detectors, don’t think you’re off the hook. Many hardwired detectors also contain backup batteries that activate in the event of a power outage. Check your hardwired alarms for backup batteries and test their functionality monthly. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, you should replace all smoke alarm batteries at least once per year, preferably twice.
Never Leave Cooking Unattended
According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking is the leading cause of home fire damage and home fire injuries. And what causes the vast majority of these kitchen fires? Unattended cooking. With the holidays right around the corner, most families will be spending extra time preparing food for holiday get-togethers, so for safety’s sake, watch your cooking like a hawk!
Never use cooking equipment if you’ve imbibed at a holiday gathering, and if you have a pan on the stovetop, do not leave the room! Be vigilant about your other kitchen essentials like oven mitts, towels, and even wooden utensils. When left near heat sources or open flame, these items can quickly catch fire.
Take Precautions With Interior Heating Equipment
What do space heaters, wood stoves, and fireplaces have in common? They keep us warm and cozy during the long Minnesota winters, of course! But along with that commonality, these pieces of heating equipment are also a leading cause of residential fires and fire damage during the months of December, January, and February.
To protect your home and family, it is critical that you maintain all heating equipment and structures in proper working order – and that means regular cleanings, too. Dirty chimneys are the leading cause of home fires, while portable space heaters follow close behind. If you use a portable space heater, keep it far away from anything that might catch fire, and give it plenty of space for air circulation. The last thing you want is fire damage that forces you out of your home during the coldest months of the year.
Maintain Electrical Outlets, Cords, Appliances
Approximately one in every 20 house fires is associated with electrical equipment. And winter, when heating, appliance, and lighting usage are highest, residential fires are more common than any other time of year. What are some of the most common culprits behind residential electrical fires?
● Overloaded outlets
● Frayed electrical cords
● Extension cord misuse
● Inappropriate lightbulb installation
● Malfunctioning appliances
● Short-circuiting, arcing
To help maintain your safety, it is critical that you pay close attention to the state of your home’s electrical system. If your wiring has not been updated in the last 20 years, it’s time to call an electrician. Similarly, if you find any loose outlets or have difficulty plugging in cords, you should have those outlets replaced promptly.
If you ever see sparks emanating from outlets or power strips, contact a licensed electrician to assess the situation. And last, but certainly not least, don’t overload your outlets! Power strips and extension cords may be convenient, but they can be extremely dangerous if you draw too much power at any given time.
Kiser Construction: Your Fire Restoration Experts
At Kiser Construction, we understand a house fire is tremendously overwhelming for all involved. That’s why we take care to provide the most comprehensive, compassionate service to allow you to pick up the pieces and get back on your feet. If you’ve recently experienced damage caused by a residential fire – be it minor or major – give us a call. We’ll get straight to work assessing the situation and restoring your home to its familiar, welcoming state. We also work with your insurance company to ensure you get the coverage you deserve. To learn more about our fire restoration services, give us a call at 763-633-2010, or feel free to message us on our contact page.
If you are in need of emergency, 24/7 assistance after a house fire, we encourage you to call our emergency line at 612-518-8852.