Critical Fire Prevention for the Home

by Amanda WoolleyNovember 1, 2018

A pot left on the stove. A dryer lint drawer filled over-capacity. A candle on the counter that has fallen over.

House fires can be caused by a variety of small-scale events. If we are not prepared to protect ourselves, those small flames can lead to a full-scale emergency and could possibly engulf your entire home. Preventative measures to keep us safe are simple and readily available, but are we taking advantage of them? Is there a general knowledge about what to do if a fire breaks out in your home?

To answer these questions and more, a study recently published by Porch collected data about the likelihood that someone is qualified and ready to defend themselves if there is a fire. They investigated the likelihood people were to exhibit certain fire-safe habits, such as owning a fire extinguisher or the regularity that they change the batteries in their smoke detectors.

Among the over 1,000 people surveyed, researchers found an alarming trend: there is a significant lack of knowledge and preparedness among all age groups when it comes to fire safety awareness. Nearly one-third of respondents (31%) admitted to not owning a fire extinguisher, and an additional 8% said they owned one but had no idea where it was. Adults with children in the home fared no better, with 35% either not owning a fire extinguisher or being unaware of its location in the home.

Older generations were more likely to know how to operate a fire extinguisher, with about 41% of baby boomers unsure of how to use one compared to more than half of Gen X’ers and 58% of millennials. This trend continues when the discussion moves to smoke detector awareness. A staggering one in four millennials surveyed admitted to never changing the batteries in their home smoke detectors.

The two easiest ways to keep yourself and family safe is to make sure your home is stocked with working smoke detectors and a fire extinguisher. Both are inexpensive ways to be proactive about the real possibility of an emergency happening and prevent a small fire from escalating to an unmanageable point. It is crucial to regularly test your smoke detectors to ensure they are in proper working order.

Most standard issue fire extinguishers can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years, but without knowing the exact date of purchase, trying to determine the lifespan of an older extinguisher can be an imperfect science and guesswork.

The study exposes our vulnerability to preventable disasters. If you are not prepared, a mostly harmless stove fire can cause tens of thousands of dollars of damage. Or worse, it can consume your entire home. So, when brainstorming your next home DIY project to tackle, consider one that can have life-saving benefits. Swap out those old batteries. Buy a fire extinguisher and keep it in an easily accessible place that the entire family can access. These tips are a great start to keeping your home and your family safe.

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About The Author
Amanda Woolley
Amanda Woolley heads up public relations and communications at Porch, a leading home repair marketplace. Porch helps homeowners make home maintenance and repair easy by connecting them with the right professional to get the job done.