Gentry Home Builders is in the business of rebuilding homes after major fire loss and it’s in the month of October, during Fire Prevention Month, that we find ourselves bringing extra attention to the topic of fire safety.
Each year in Canada, approximately 24,000 house fires occur, resulting in an average of 377 deaths and 3,047 injuries. Below are the top five causes of house fires in Canada, according to the National Fire Protection Association:
Common cooking-related fires are caused by inattentiveness in the kitchen. For example, using the stove while sleepy or after having consumed alcohol or cannabis. Items kept too close to a stovetop, including oven mitts, towels, wood utensils, and food packaging, are also major culprits in home fires that start in the kitchen.
Especially common in the winter months, heating-related fires are often caused by portable space heaters placed too close to something that can burn, such as upholstery or curtains. Failure to properly clean chimneys is a leading factor in home heating fires.
Faulty or improperly used wiring, lighting, cords, and plugs rank first in property damage culprits and third among major home fire causes.
This is one we’ve seen all too often, mainly failure to properly extinguish a cigarette, such as butting out in a planter or flowerpot, which could contain peat moss, dried grass, mulch, or other flammable vegetation.
As with the above, candles placed too closely to flammable materials are a common cause of fire. Leaving a candle unattended, or leaving it to burn out in a container that is not fireproof could end in disaster.
These five topics are the leading causes of home fires, but they are certainly not the only sources. Every house fire is unique, and we’ve seen first-hand the devastation a homeowner feels when such a loss occurs. Not all home fires can be predicted or prevented but it’s important to take measures to protect your home and family.
- • Prepare a fire escape plan for your family. Discuss and rehearse escape routes from all areas of the home and have a safe meeting place outside of your home. Download a Home Fire Escape Plan Worksheet to do with your family.
- • Smoke alarms have come a long way in technology. We recommend wireless interconnected smoke detectors that work if one goes off, it sends a signal to the rest of the alarms in the house to all go off simultaneously.
- • Never leave a burning candle unattended. Ensure candles are extinguished before going to sleep. If a candle is nearing the end of its’ life, don’t let it burn out on its own.
- • Keep portable fire escape ladders in all upstairs bedrooms.
- • Inspect your home for fire hazards. You may not realize it until you see it but overloaded electrical circuits, light bulbs with greater wattage than a light fixture is rated for, or combustible items such as rags, should all be addressed.
If a fire happens
- • Put your fire escape plan into action and evacuate all members of your family.
- • Contact your local fire department immediately or dial 911.
- • When it is safe to do so, contact your broker to arrange for an adjuster to handle your claim.
Gentry Home Builders has been fortunate enough to work with some amazing clients to get them back into their homes after fire loss. Visit our gallery to view some photos of homes that have been completely rebuilt after fire.