From The Detroit News | By Ken Calverley and Chuck Breidenstein
DETROIT, March 9, 2023 ~ Look at your watch for 1½ minutes. During that time, a house fire started somewhere in the United States. On average one every 87 seconds.
There are some horrific statistics associated with house and building fires in this country. House fires account for nearly 12 billion dollars a year in damages.
Most fires that started as a candle for a heat source occur on the holidays around Christmas and New Years Day.
On average, seven people die in a fire every day, including 500 children a year. Home fires account for more than 90 percent of civilian fire deaths, more than 2,600 of them, every year.
And most of these are easily preventable.
March 5, 2023 ~ Chuck “The Inside Guy” Breidenstein and Ken “The Outside Guy” Calverly offer the knowledge and resources you need to make the home of your dreams a reality. Catch them every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon on 760 WJR.
Fifty percent of all residential fires are caused by cooking accidents. These most commonly occur when food is overcooked, or grease is spilled during the food preparation.
Grease fires in kitchens can start without an open flame as grease will ignite at around 600 degrees, and the worst statistical day of the year for this to occur is Thanksgiving.
For those of us in the northern climes, it is good to know the second leading cause of residential fires is heating equipment. Portable heating devices used as supplements in the home are the biggest culprits.
More than 80% of the deaths from fire due to heating equipment occurred from fires started by space heaters.
It is very common to have these cord and plug connected units plugged into an underwired receptacle or a plug strip. In either case this can create a hazardous situation that leads to a fire.
Additionally, portable heaters are often placed near combustibles like drapes, floor coverings and furniture. In less than five minutes, the heat from a house fire can reach 1,100 degrees and the ignited material creates a lot of smoke. The majority of home deaths are actually caused by smoke inhalation, and more than half of the child fatalities from fire occur from smoke while the children are still asleep.
The third leading cause is intentionally lit fires. These include everything from a curious child playing with flammables to a chimney fire, fires to burn trash and weeds and, in some cases, theft and insurance fraud. Cigarettes and laundry appliances round out the Top 5 causes of residential fires with smoking deaths being the statistical worst. Clothes dryers account for more than 90% of the nearly 16,000 appliance fires every year due primarily to the ignition of lint and dust fibers in the machine and exhaust ducts.
These five categories account for 88% of all house fires.
So, what can we do?
Never leave the food prep area when cooking a meal. No phone call or door bell is worth the potential damage from a fire or injury to a child that might grab a pan handle.
Never use portable heating devices improperly. Only connect electric heaters to properly sized circuits and keep all such units away from any combustible material.
Make certain fireplace fireboxes and chimneys are clean and in good condition and only burn seasoned hardwoods.
For housing advice and more, listen to “The Inside Outside Guys” every Saturday and Sunday on 760 WJR from 10 a.m. to noon, or contact them at InsideOutsideGuys.com.