Fires resulted in $13 billion in losses in 2017, not including the $10 billion lost due to the Northern California wildfires. Although we’re well aware of how devastating fires can be, most of us don’t realize how easily they could happen to us.
According to an American Red Cross study, two in five adults think they’re more likely to win the lottery than lose their home in a fire. Unfortunately, they’re wrong. While there is a one in a million chance of winning the lottery, the odds of dying from fire or smoke are about one in 1,500.
The risks of a fire and magnitude of potential damages should prompt us to be more prepared and to familiarize ourselves with potential fire hazards. Being unaware and not having the right plans or tools in place can put your safety in jeopardy and may result in preventable injuries and damages.
We surveyed 3,000 people to get a pulse on America’s knowledge of fire safety. Take a look at our findings below to see what we found and why you should think twice about home fire safety.
- Only 12 percent of Americans know the leading cause of house fires (cooking)
- Nearly a quarter of Americans don’t have a fire extinguisher in their home
- 16 percent of Americans leave their kitchen unattended daily
The holidays are a time to be especially cautious since most of us are cooking. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported that home cooking fires peaked during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Last year alone, State Farm paid over $118 million for almost 2,500 cooking and grease fire claims.
Despite this, Americans aren’t aware of the risks or taking the proper precautions.
88 Percent of Americans Don’t Know the Leading Cause of House Fires
Most Americans incorrectly thought electrical malfunctions were the leading cause of house fires. Although these are dangerous, electrical malfunctions account for only 10 percent of residential fires, according to the NFPA.
If you’re unaware of the high risk of kitchen fires, you won’t know what steps to take to prevent or extinguish them. When it comes to fires, every second counts. A small flame can turn into a major fire in less than 30 seconds.
Preparedness is not only important when keeping you and your loved ones safe, it’s also crucial for preventing expensive damage to your home.
Fire Extinguishers are Missing from Nearly a Quarter of American Homes
Fire extinguishers are one main tool we can use to put out fires. However, our results found that:
- Nearly one in four (23%) Americans still don’t have a fire extinguisher in their home
- 15% of Americans aren’t sure if they have a fire extinguisher in their home
While simply having one fire extinguisher is the first step to increasing your home’s overall fire safety, it’s important to know how to use it and what types of fires you can put out with your fire extinguisher.
There are several classes of fire extinguishers you can have in your home. Nationwide recommends having one fire extinguisher on each level of your house and near places fires are likely to start, like the kitchen.
Fire Extinguisher Classes
|Ordinary combustible materials
|Cloth, wood, paper, textiles, rubber, trash and plastics
|Grease, gasoline, oil, oil-based paints, solvents and tar
|Appliances, tools or other equipment that’s plugged in
|Magnesium, titanium, zirconium, lithium, and potassium