Top causes of home fires and how to avoid them

According to the U.S. Fire Administration (FEMA), the total number of residential fires per year is 374,000 – totaling $7.32 billion in annual dollar loss.*

This same research shows the following as the top causes of home fires:

  • Cooking (56%)
  • Heating (16%)
  • Electrical malfunction (9%)
  • Unintentional carelessness (8%)
  • Open flame (6%)
  • Intentional arson (5%)

A small fire can spread and grow into a deadly fire in just minutes. Accidents can happen to anyone, but following the tips below can help ensure you are doing everything you can to protect yourself, your home, and your neighbors.


Appliance safety

  • Protect your appliances and your home by using surge protectors.
  • Do not overload circuits or extension cords.
  • Periodically check your small appliances’ electrical cords (i.e., hair dryers, vaccuum cleaners, lamps, etc.). Cords that are frayed or cracked are potential fire hazards. If you find one of your appliances with this issue, unplug the cord and replace the cord or the item immediately.
  • Do not run electrical cords underneath rugs or between rooms.
  • Never place portable space heaters near flammable materials, such as curtains or drapes. Older model space heaters should never be used.
  • Turn off space heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.


Smoking safety

  • Do not smoke in bed or leave burning cigarettes unattended.
  • Do not put cigarettes out in potted plants.
  • Do not flick cigarette butts off your patio.
  • Put cigarette butts out in the proper receptacle and make sure they are completely out. The Rental Office offers complimentary butt buckets for your convenience and safety.
  • Keep lighters and matches out of reach of children.


Kitchen safety

  • Never leave food unattended on a stove.
  • Keep potholders, towels, and paper away from the cooking area.
  • Avoid wearing loose-fitting sleeves while cooking.


Flammable materials safety

  • Do not leave candles or incense unattended. When using these items, place them away from drapes, curtains, or other flammable materials.
  • Do not store flammable materials, such as gasoline cans or a propane tank, in your apartment.


Laundry room safety

  • Clean the lint filter before or after each load of laundry, and remove lint that has collected around the drum of the dryer.
  • (If you have a dryer in your home) Make sure the dryer is turned off before leaving home or going to bed.


Escape Route

Though your apartment may be prepared, accidents do occur. Plan an escape route, and if you live with family or roommates, plan for a safe place to meet outside. Have at least two escape routes planned in case one is blocked.


Remember to test the smoke alarms at least once a month, and replace batteries once a year. An easy reminder is to change the batteries when the clocks spring forward.



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