According to the U.S. Fire Administration, Fires can strike anywhere – in structures, buildings, automobiles, and the outdoors – but fires that affect our homes are often the most tragic and the most preventable.
- Smoking is the leading cause of fatal residential building fires.
- Bedrooms are the leading location where civilian fire fatalities occur in residential buildings.
The National Fire Protection Association cites the following sources as most common causes of in-home fires:
- Cooking has been the leading cause of reported home fires and home fire injuries since 1990.
- Heating equipment was the leading cause of reported home fires in the 1980s and has generally ranked second since them. It is the second leading cause of home fire deaths.
- Home electrical fires involve electrical distribution or lighting equipment; washer or dryer units, fan, portable or stationary space heaters, air conditioning equipment, water heater and ranges.
Every 24 seconds, a fire department responds to a fire in the U.S. While many people fear death by fire due to burning, fire actually kills more people due to smoke inhalation. Smoke can have various effects on people, including:
- Impaired judgment and coordination
- Headache, dizziness, nausea, fatigue
- Respiratory arrest, cardiac arrest, death
Actions You Can Take
The U.S. Fire Administration offers the following steps you can take to prevent fire:
- Installing smoke alarms on every level of your home
- Testing smoke alarms once a month
- Changing smoke alarm batteries at least once a year, and
- Making and practicing a home fire escape plan
Install smoke alarms: Properly installed and maintained smoke alarms provide an early warning of a potentially deadly fire and could reduce the risk of dying from a fire in your home by almost half.
Install residential sprinklers: Smoke alarms can only alert you and your family to a fire in the home – they cannot contain or extinguish a fire; residential sprinkler systems can.
Have an escape plan: Escape plans help you get out of your home quickly. In less than 30 seconds a small flame can get out of control and turn into a major fire.
Have a fire extinguisher: The use of a fire extinguisher in the hands of a trained adult can be a life and property-saving tool.