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5 Hidden Home Fire Hazards

Posted: November 03, 2018

The chances of your home catching fire probably seem very remote. But truthfully speaking, no one ever expects their house to go up in flames, and typically, the root cause of the fire is something they didn’t see coming.

Data from the American Red Cross shows how most Americans think about home fires. 52% of parents with children have not talked to their families about fire safety. 82% of American households have not practiced home fire drills. And with fire experts agreeing that you only have about two minutes to escape a burning home, it’s critical that you are not only prepared, but also vigilantly on the lookout for hazards — both obvious and inconspicuous.

Here, we lay out 5 hidden home fire hazards to watch out for.

wiring fire hazard

1. Wiring

Out of sight, out of mind is the general philosophy when it comes to wiring. But if you’re mounting an item to your wall, it’s really easy to accidentally pierce a wire with a screw or nail, and BOOM, you’ve got a hazard. To avoid this, replace standard circuit breakers with arc-fault circuit interrupters — they detect dangerous electrical arcs and stop them before they spark a flame. Additionally, using a stud finder with built-in cable detector can alert you if there is a live wire in the area you are working.

old appliance fire hazard

2. Old Appliances

Vintage is hot right now, but older fans, coffeemakers and other cool-looking appliances were built according to antiquated safety mandates. For that reason alone, we’d recommend you stick with using newer items. But if you must use that super-cool toaster and not just display it, have it rewired to prevent fires.

overheating laptops

3. Overheating Laptops

Your computer can get pretty hot after a few hours of extended use. And leaving it on soft surfaces like your bed or couch can restrict the airflow in your machine, cause it to overheat and catch fire. To prevent this, keep your laptop on a table or other hard surface that enables proper ventilation.

9 volt battery hazard

4. 9-Volt Batteries

9-volt batteries seem innocent enough, but keep them loose in a drawer, and you may be headed for disaster. When loose batteries come into contact with metal objects like nails and coins, the two terminals could short out and generate enough heat to ignite other flammables in the drawer. Cover the terminals of 9-volt batteries with electrical tape, or keep them in their original packaging — never loose to roll around with other metals.

loose wall outlets

5. Loose Wall Outlets

Have you ever plugged in an appliance and found that there was a lot of play in the outlet? That’s because the blades within a wall socket tend to loosen over time, and that looseness can generate enough heat to start a fire. The moment you sense a bit of looseness in your wall outlets, replace them immediately.

In the unfortunate event that your home did catch fire, there are a few things you can start doing now to increase your family’s chance of survival:

  1. Have a basic escape plan in place — Make sure that everyone understands the available exit routes, and establish a designated meeting place outside your home.
  2. Make sure your smoke alarms work — They should be tested once every 30 days.
  3. Sign up for fire & smoke alarm monitoring – ADT monitoring can quickly alert emergency response services if an indoor fire sensor is triggered.
  4. Practice your escape plan — Twice a year, your family should have a full run-through as if your house was really on fire.

While it’s not a fun thing to think about, prepping your family for the worst can actually help to save them from the worst. The team here at Protect Your Home is here to provide support in any way we can. Our installation of ADT’s fire monitoring solutions can help your family minimize losses and keep everyone safe in the event of an accident.