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Fire Safety, Fire Damage, Fire Restoration: Part One

House fires are an occurrence each of us hopes we never have to face. Unfortunately, they are a very real threat. It is something we see rather frequently here in Northwest Arkansas and Southern Missouri. 

This is part one of three in a series of posts. In this series, I am going to touch on the following: the top causes of house fires, how to best prepare and what to do in the event of a house fire, and what the fire restoration process looks like. 

In this post, I am going to keep the discussion limited to the top 5 causes of house fires according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

1. Cooking Equipment: This may come as a no brainer but most fires occur in the kitchen.  According to the NFPA, 45% of all house fires last year started this way.

Safety Tips
Do not leave food or the kitchen unattended while cooking
Move all flammable items away from the stove
Do not pour water on grease fires
Have an appropriate rated fire extinguisher nearby

2. Heating Equipment: This includes furnaces, portable heaters, fireplaces and chimneys.

Safety Tips
Keep the area around your furnace clean 
Maintain a safe space between portable heaters and combustible items
Avoid placing combustible items near fire place
Do not put trash items in fire place
Have chimney swept and inspected by certified professional yearly

3. Electrical and Lighting Equipment: This category is a much broader than the previous two. This can be anything from a faulty plug-in to a circuits overloading on heavy duty appliances.

Safety Tips
Avoid overloading outlets and circuits
Ensure you have the appropriate size extension cord (use indoor cords inside only)
Leave third prong (ground wire) on all plug ins
Unplug Christmas lights and unnecessary electronics when not in use

4. Smoking: Though smoking is toward the bottom of our list, it actually had the highest fatality rate over the five year period NFPA conducted the study. It also a category in steep decline.

Safety Tips
Avoid smoking in the bedroom, especially in bed
Use an ashtray that is deep enough to avoid cigarette butts from falling out
Make an attempt to smoke outside

5. Clothes Dryers and Washers: A common cause of household fires homeowners often forget about is the dryer and washer. The main cause with the dryer is the lint dust and the actual clothing. With the washing machine, it is the wiring and the machine itself. These two unsuspecting machines can wreak havoc on a home.

Safety Tips
Clean lint screen/filter before each use
Clean dryer vent periodically
Do not place combustible items in dryer
Clean behind both washer and dryer regularly 

We hope this helped you understand some of the major causes of household fires. More importantly, we hope you were able to grab some useful information on fire prevention.

If you have fire damage or water damage, call the MitiServe Restoration Emergency Response Team @ 870-743-6607 or toll free @ 844-845-7314. Whether it's Harrison, Branson, or Mountain Home, our IICRC certified technicians are standing by 24 hours a day.