I left my house a few weeks ago and instantly could smell smoke in the air. Knowing it was not my own home and not seeing smoke billowing nearby, I thought nothing of it. It was probably a controlled burn or a camp fire, right? That was until I saw on the news that a home in our neighborhood was on fire. A small candle was left burning through the night and somehow got knocked over and ignited the rest of the house. While all of the family members were able to make it out alive, the two family pets suffered severe smoke inhalation and the house was considered a total loss.
This story is devastating in itself but it is even more sobering knowing that the fire could have been prevented.
It is rare that a house fire starts from arson or any criminal activity. Sadly, the majority of house fires- small and large- begin from not being alert of our surroundings. But you can keep your family and home safe from house fires by taking precautions in each room.
Candles. We had a strict no candle rule in my house growing up after a neighbor girl almost burnt down her house with a candle. The small wax covered-wick is more dangerous than young people- and often adults- think. Banning candles from your home is a simple way to eliminate the problem. But for those who love the aroma that candles bring to a home, this is not an ideal situation. Fire safe alternatives have hit the market in the last few years that give you the best of both worlds: wonderful aroma without an open flame. Candle warmers can be sold at any big box or home store. The heated base warms the wax, and as it melts the scent is released. No flame- just plugs into the wall. Another option is scented wax melters like Scentsy. Consumers buy scented wax bars to put in a decorative jar that heats up the wax. Again, no flame, just a bulb to warm the wax.
Space heaters. Many winter fires start from the improper use of space heaters. If you want a little extra heat, make sure your space heater is at least three feet away from anything, including walls. Don’t be deceived by new space heaters that hide the heating element. It is still very hot and can ignite. Never leave the room with a space heater running.
Fire place. If you still live in a home with an actual fire place (with wood and everything) you have a different set of dangers. Your fire place should have a screen that is sturdy enough to catch and sparks that might fly from the fire. This screen can also help keep young children away from the hot embers. If the home is built up to code, there will be enough brick surrounding the fire place so embers can jump out and ignite carpet or other flooring.
Use these tips to keep your home safe!