House fires reportedly caused around $11.6 billion in property damage and were responsible for over 3,200 fatalities in the United States in 2014. As tragic as these numbers are, it gets even worse when one considers that most of this damage could’ve been avoided. House fires are rarely freak occurrences; they are almost always caused by carelessness and poor planning. Fortunately, this also means that there are plenty of things you can do to fireproof your house. Here are some of the simpler solutions to keep your home and family safe.
Install Smoke Detectors
One of the easiest things you can do to keep your family safe in the event of a house fire is install smoke detectors. These small devices are required by law in public buildings and rental homes for good reason. You may need more than one smoke detector if you live in a larger house, especially if it has multiple floors. Test all of your smoke detectors at least once a month, and change out their batteries as needed.
Redo Your Wiring
The wiring in most modern homes is generally pretty safe, but that may not be the case for older homes. If you live in an older home that hasn’t been renovated for some time or you’re thinking of buying such a home, take some time to redo the wiring. Older homes were not built with the number of electronics and appliances that are in most modern homes, so overloading an old and possibly deteriorating electrical system is just asking for a house fire.
Don’t Overload Your Electrical Outlets
Even if you’ve had the wiring in your home redone, you still don’t want to overload your electrical outlets. This is very easy to do in a modern home that has a TV, a blu-ray player, at least one video game system and several laptops, cell phones and tablets. Be mindful about the number of electronics you have plugged in at any given time, especially if they take a lot of electricity to run, and unplug them when they’re not in use.
Blow Out Your Candles
Lighting a few candles is a great way to create a cozy atmosphere in your home, but you should never leave them unattended. If you’re going to leave a lit candle alone for any period of time, blow it out first even if you’re only going to be in the next room for a couple of minutes. It only takes a second for a candle to be knocked over and start a fire.
Invest in Fire-Retardant Curtains and Upholstery
Many fires start or spread because a home’s curtains or upholstery is left too close to an open flame. While this is a good reason why you should remember our last piece of advice about your candles, you can create a safer environment by investing in fire-retardant fabrics for these items. A curtain that is meant to be fire-resistant will look and function just as well as any other luxury curtain or drape, but it will make for a safer home.