What Is the Leading Cause of Fires and Burn Injuries?

Home-cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fires and related injuries, and smoking is the leading cause of fatal fires. Outside of fires, scalding from hot water or liquids is the leading cause of burn injuries, and according to Stanford Children’s Hospital, hot tap water scald burns cause more hospitalizations and deaths than any other hot liquid burns.

Overall, the leading causes of fires are:

  • Cooking
  • Heating
  • Electrical
  • Smoking
  • Candles

The leading causes of burn injuries are hot liquids and steam, building fires, and flammable liquids and gases.

Cooking Safety Tips

Whenever you have something on the stove, you should be in the kitchen. If you have to leave the room, turn off the stove. Never use the stove or stovetop after consuming alcohol or when you feel very tired and always keep children at least 3 feet away from the stove.

Although you don’t have to stay in the kitchen the entire time you bake or use the oven, you need to stay at home and check on your food regularly. Set a timer so you do not forget you are cooking!

Should anything in your kitchen catch fire, smother the flame by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the burner. If something in your oven catches fire, turn off the oven and keep the door closed. Do not try to fight a fire that has gotten out of hand. Instead, call 9-1-1 and exit your home. Close the door behind you so the fire does not spread.

Heating Safety Tips

From space heaters to fireplaces, home heating systems can be dangerous if used incorrectly. Test your smoke alarms at least once a month when you are heating your home during the winter months and use your products safely. Heating safety may include:

  • Keeping anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from all heat sources
  • Making sure children stay at least 3 feet away from open fires and space heaters
  • Making sure your heating equipment is professionally installed
  • Having your chimney and other heating equipment cleaned and inspected every year
  • Turning portable heaters off before leaving the room or going to bed
  • Using the right kind of fuel for has heaters
  • Installing and maintaining smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms
  • Equipping your fireplace with a sturdy screen to contain sparks
  • Storing ashes in a metal container away from your home

Remember: your oven is not a home heating system. Never use your oven to heat your home.

Electrical Safety Tips

Electrical fires are frequently the result of poor wiring and unprofessional electrical work. If you are building or remodeling a home, have a qualified electrician do all your electrical work, and if you are buying a home, hire a private inspector to check the wiring. Consider having arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) and ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) installed in your home. Always use light bulbs with the correct number of watts.

You also need to be safe when using appliances and extension cords. In the kitchen, make sure each appliance has its own outlet or use one heat-producing appliance per outlet at a time. Do not use extension cords for major appliances, such as refrigerators, washers, and dryers, and never run electrical cords across doorways or under carpets. Keep in mind that extension cords are only designed for temporary use.

If your outlets spark or your lights flicker or dim when you use appliances, talk to your landlord or hire an electrician.

Safety Tips for Smoking and Candles

If you smoke, do so outside and dispose of cigarettes in a deep, sturdy ashtray stored away from anything that can burn. Douse cigarette butts and ashes in water or sand before disposing of them.

Avoid smoking inside and never smoke in bed. Keep your smoking materials away from children and never smoke in an environment where medical oxygen is used.

You should also avoid using candles if anyone in your home uses medical oxygen. Otherwise, keep candles, matches, and lighters away from children and never leave a child in a room with a burning candle.

Keep candles in sturdy candleholders and at least 1 foot away from anything that can burn. Due to the risk of falling asleep with a candle lit, do not use candles in the bedroom. Light candles carefully (be mindful of hair and clothing) and blow out candles before you leave the room. Do not burn a candle all the way down.

Because candles are open flames, candle fires are a real problem. Consider using flameless candles instead. Remember that candles are decorative; if your power goes out, use flashlights and battery-powered lighting – not candles.

What If I Get Burned by a Defective Product or Premises?

Unfortunately, fire safety does not work if you use defective products or live somewhere with defective wiring or electrical systems. Property owners and manufacturers are responsible for fire safety, and if they neglect this responsibility, you could be entitled to compensation for any losses you suffer.

If you have sustained a burn injury from a defective product or been harmed in a fire on someone else’s property, please call the Law Office of Robert J. Kaiser to discuss your rights and legal options.

Attorney Robert J. Kaiser is ready to put 20+ years of experience on your side as soon as you call us at (661) 441-3446 or contact us online, so don’t hesitate to get started with a free consultation today!


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