The kitchen is the heart of the home where meals are lovingly prepared. But, did you know that the kitchen is also the most likely place that home fires begin? Read on to learn how to protect your family from the dangers associated with kitchen fires.
How to Protect Your Home from Kitchen Fires
Most common causes of kitchen fires
The most common causes of kitchen fires are frying food and leaving cooking food unattended. Frying is a particularly dangerous way to cook because oil is highly flammable, and heating the oil too much or having splattering oil will quickly cause a kitchen fire. Be aware that walking away from any cooking food is dangerous even if you think you will be gone for a short amount of time.
Take preventative actions
Prevent fires by keeping flammable items like oven mitts, dish towels, and utensils away from the stove-top, and keep at least one small fire extinguisher in your home and make sure it is accessible in the kitchen.
Also make sure that your cooking tools are appropriate for what you are trying to prepare. This includes making sure your stove-top is in good working order as well as your pots and pans being the correct size. You may want to consider investing in an outdoor fryer if you do a lot of frying.
Stop a fire in progress
If you notice that your oil starts smoking, immediately turn your cooking temperature down. Smoking oil is a sign that it is too hot and will catch on fire soon. The only way to put out a grease fire is to smother it, so keep a lid near your cooking area. If you can’t put it out, shut the door and get everyone out of the house.
Damage to your home
Depending on how large the fire was, you may see significant damage to your kitchen. Besides the obvious damage to stove top and melted appliances there may also be unseen damage to gas lines and electrical lines. It is always best to call the fire department to make sure that your home is safe before you re-enter after a fire.
Another big issue with kitchen fires is the fumes and soot caused by burning plastic and other items. You will need to wash down your walls, clean out drawers and cabinets, and be sure to change your air filter. Soot from the kitchen fire will travel to your entire home through your air ducts.
That's the luckier side of things. Kitchen fires can easily become full-fledged house fires, and you could end up without a home. Unless put out extremely quickly, a fire will likely require the assistance of either an electrician, a disaster specialist or both to get the home back to safe and comfortable conditions.
One of the reasons we have been using gas in our homes for as long as we have is because gas is both clean and convenient for most households. Today, nearly any appliance can be run off of gas in your household. Thankfully, gas is pretty much as safe as electricity, if you keep a few things in mind. Here are some excellent tips to keep in mind if you use gas in your home.
How to Use Gas Safely in Your Home
Keeping your household appliances clean and in good working order not only extends the life of your appliance but makes it easier to detect any issues that may occur. Keep the piping free of any detritus and rubbish as well as free of kinks. Set up regularly scheduled maintenance to check your appliance.
Familiarize Yourself With Warning Signs
Pay attention to the warning signs that can alert you to a potential gas fault. If you believe that there is a gas fault immediately turn off the gas.
Signs may mean you have a leak are:
Rotten egg smell
Yellow flame instead of blue
If You Believe You Have a Leak
If, at any time, you believe that you may have a leak, turn off the gas as quickly as possible to prevent asphyxiation and fire. Open any windows and doors to get as much ventilation as possible into the space. Do not touch anything that can spark, like light switches, and do not light a cigarette. Don't even use the telephone. From your cellphone or another location, call a professional to inspect the home.
Purchase Gas Alarms
Every home should have a smoke alarm, but homes that use gas should also purchase and install gas alarms. These alarms work very much like a smoke alarm by setting off an audible alarm when they detect gas leaks in your home. Just like with a smoke alarm, ensure that you keep it in good working order and schedule regular battery replacement. You should check it at the same time you do your smoke alarm to make sure you don't forget.
Gas is a safe feature in your home as long as you remain aware of what warning signs to look for and take the few extra steps of purchasing a gas alarm and conducting regular appliance and alarm maintenance.
Few, if any of us, contemplate what steps should be taken if the unfortunate circumstances arise of a fire. It could be our home, place of business, or a storage building. We purchase fire insurance in the hopes it will not be used. Perhaps you are reading this as a result of a fire, or it could be that you are interested in knowing what steps can be taken if this occurs to you. Let’s dive into some of the basics of fire damage and what can be done to rebuild to the way the structure was before the fire damage occurred.
One of the biggest threats that occurs is, surprisingly, smoke and ash damage. Most people assume it is the flames themselves. Ash damage is not widely spoken of, but it is corrosive and emits powerful odors. In addition to these characteristics, ash discolors surfaces quickly. If the ash is left untreated for even a few days, it will permanently discolor walls, upholstery, and wood furnishings. Of equal concern is any metal in the home, as it will begin corroding within a few days as well.
Anytime a significant fire occurs, the inevitable water damage as a result of the fire department extinguishing the blaze needs prompt attention. Equally important will be a proper inspection to see if there is any significant roof and structure damage. It will have to be inspected promptly to investigate whether the home or business is structurally sound.
The good news is that nobody has to shoulder this burden alone. RCS will assist with all aspects of the cleanup and restoration of your fire damaged building; be it a home, place of business, or storage building. In fact, it is suggested that before you open an insurance claim that RCS is contacted as we work closely with the insurance companies to assist the customer with the urgency of the restoration. RCS works with, not for, insurance companies.
As a homeowner, you’re probably more than aware of the dangers that can threaten your home. The thought of a flood, electrical fire, or damage from a storm can be enough to keep many people up at night, and it’s even worse when you have to deal with more than one problem at once. While it might seem a little absurd at first, one combination of damage that actually occurs quite frequently--and with perfectly good reason--is fire and water.
So, how does this happen? There are a number of scenarios where such a seemingly unlikely situation can occur. Regardless of how it happens, as a homeowner you should know that when water or fire damage occurs, time is of the essence. The longer you wait to assess the damage and begin repairs, the more of your house will succumb to damage, whether it be structural damage, mold, or something else. So, how can such a scenario occur?
When you think about it, it’s very likely that one event can cause another. If you live in an older house, for example, there’s a good chance that some of your home’s systems are in need of maintenance. If this includes plumbing, then water damage from leaking or burst pipes is only a matter of time. If your house also has older wiring in its walls, then these leaking pipes can cause your faulty and exposed wiring to get wet, which can spark a fire. This is why it’s important (even if you’re house is newer) to make sure your house is being properly maintained.
Putting Out The Fire
While the above scenario makes perfect sense, here’s one that’s probably even more likely: suppose your house catches fire. In this scenario, the reason doesn’t matter. Electrical, ashes from the fireplace -- for whatever reason, your house is on fire. When firefighters arrive to put out the fire, there’s a good chance that they’re going to be spraying water (as well as other substances) to put out that fire. So, when it’s all over, the water used to end the fire caused just as much damage as the fire that they were trying to put out.
So, as you can see, what seems like an unlikely combination of events is one that actually makes sense, and could happen to anyone. And while you can’t prevent everything from happening, you can try to do your part to make it less possible: get your electrical systems checked out. Have your plumbing inspected. Take precautions to prevent a fire from starting in your house. And if something does happen, don’t wait before getting the damage assessed and fixed.
If you have a dryer in your home you probably don’t really think about it too much beyond turning the knob and hitting start. Then you walk away to drink your coffee and read through your newsfeed for the tenth time that day, or whatever else you do in your spare time. Dryers are fairly common, even among homes that fall below the “poverty line” in America. Do you know what else is common? Fires started by dirty dryers. A study done just a few years ago found that some 15,000 + house fires were caused by dryers which were not properly maintained. So, to answer the title question: Yes, absolutely you need to clean your dryer. And you should clean it often. In addition to simply telling you to clean your dryer, here are a few more reasons why dryer maintenance is so important and a few more tips.
1. Clean Your Lint Screen
The easiest and most straightforward task you can do every day to help keep your machine running smoothly (and fire free!) is to clean out the lint screen for every single load you do. That may sound like a lot, but it really isn’t. It’s a simple five second operation that, in the long run, may save you thousands and thousands of dollars, if not save your entire home from fire destruction. Temperatures in your dryer can reach upwards of 500 degrees fahrenheit, which can definitely start a fire very quickly.
2. Service the Vent Hose
This also may seem pretty simple, but simple is good. Da Vinci once said the ultimate form of sophistication is simplicity. This is the same as the lint screen idea. Make sure to check your vent hose frequently and clean it out. Cleaning several times a month is a good idea to help ensure there is no excess buildup of lint or other materials in the hose which could easily catch fire.
3. Hire a Pro
When you are installing a new unit, you should hire a professional to install your new (or used) dryer unit for you. It’s awesome if you want to do everything yourself and save money. But it’s only awesome in this case if you know what you’re doing so that you don’t do something wrong and burn your house down. Professional technicians worth their fees will be able to properly assess your unit and how it should be installed. Always research several different companies or installation professionals and ask around to find out who is the best in your area. Usually, you can even ask around at home improvement stores as well. It may be a little bit more costly to have a pro in to install your unit, but in the long run you’ll be able to rest at ease knowing that your unit is installed properly.
**A humorous representation of the top 10 causes of house fires**
Well, tonight is Poker Night. Poker Night is a bit of a ritual for me and my buddies. Once a month, on a Saturday night, we all get together. We take turns hosting, and this Saturday night means that we converge over at Billy Burns’ house. That is if he hasn’t managed to burn it down yet. You see, he’s not the most careful guy in the world.
Surely, we’ve all had that one friend who has cheated fate. Well, Billy Burns has constantly cheated fate because he and his family pay no attention to fire safety rules. In fact, they absolutely stomp all over fire safety guidelines. I’ll point out a few house fire causes as I try to enjoy Poker Night at the Burns’.
Using a charcoal grill indoors - We arrive right around 8:00, to the sight of Billy trying to start his charcoal grill; in his garage; with A LOT of lighter fluid. The ensuing fireball scorches the garage ceiling, but amazingly, doesn’t start a fire. We shake our heads in wonder. Feeling more than a little light-headed (carbon monoxide can do that to you), we proceed into the house.
Power cords and unattended cooking - Billy’s garage door opens into his family room. After walking across a rug that covers a couple of overloaded extension cords, we walk into the dimly lit kitchen to store our beer in the refrigerator. Apparently, Billy wanted to wow his poker buddies with an extravagant spread of food, because he is cooking, correction, burning, hamburgers on his unattended stove. As we open the fridge, the hamburger grease in the pan catches fire. Luckily, there is a lid for the fry pan in the sink. Someone quickly sets the lid on the burning fry pan and the fire dies out. Now we’re really getting nervous.
Kids playing with lighters and smoking in bed - Eventually, things calm down, beer flows, and we get down to some serious poker. Of course, when beer flows, bathroom breaks ensue. When it was my turn to make a bathroom run, up the hall I went. The first thing I happened to see was in the living room. Billy’s two little kids were sitting around the coffee table, lighting little pieces of paper on fire, and laughing hysterically. Shaking my head, I moved up the hall towards the bathroom. In one of the bedrooms I could see Mrs. Burns, sitting on her bed (about to doze off), watching TV, and smoking a cigarette.
Overloaded electrical circuits - Finally, I made it to the bathroom, amazed that I made it that far. I flipped on the light, and was greeted by a shower of sparks from the outlet above the sink. They must have had five or six different things plugged into that one socket with a multi-outlet converter. Then the lights went out completely. Then I smelled smoke. It wasn’t charcoaled hamburger smoke either.
We didn’t even have time to grab the beer from the refrigerator. At least everyone managed to escape the fire. Not much was left by the time the fire department put out the flames. Poor Billy, his wife, and kids, all huddled together on the sidewalk looking at the charred remains of their house. In the quiet I heard Billy mumble, “I can’t believe our house burned down.”
I guess Poker Night won’t be at the Burns’ house for a while.