Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Easy things we should all do to prevent fires in residential structures.

Vermont Department of Public Safety, Division of Fire Safety comes up with an annual report that gives us valuable insight regarding fire and fire related issues.
Not surprisingly, the number one and number two leading causes of fire in residential structure are from heating and cooking.  Heating and cooking is responsible for 78% of all residential structural fires in 2014.

Accidents like these are unfortunate, at least to say.  No matter how many times we hear about a fire, the feeling of surprise, terror, and fear is there.  This, I think, is something we can all agree on.  But our actions don't seem to be align with this, maybe because human actions not always include reason and logic, maybe because we are too busy, maybe because we are not busy enough? 
Many, if not all, residential fires can be prevented, if we can do the following: 

1.  Clean your chimney regularly.  It's expensive, but not as expensive as dealing with fire loss.  (How many times chimney should be clean depends on few factors, talk to your professional chimney cleaner.)

2.  Have a fire extinguisher and know how to use it.  Try practicing and don't stop until you feel confident you can pull a trigger.  Every cooking fire can be prevented if fire extinguisher is readily available and used correctly. 

3.  Make sure your smoke and CO2 detectors are operational.  Use photoelectric type smoke detector as they are better at detecting smoldering fire.

This is not part of the fire safety report, but last month one of my clients had a big fire.  Fire was caused by a scented plug-in that was in a bathroom.  Fire Marshall/Fire Investigator told us that because the bathroom door was closed that prevented fire to rapidly spreading and gave enough time to fire department to respond.  Fire Marshall's exact words were "this little hollow door save the entire building, this is what saved your building."  When I got back home I threw away scented plug-in from our bathroom, and told my wife to always close the doors all rooms. 

An actual photo from the scene of a fire in an apartment.

Report is available for everyone:

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