Every homeowner’s worst nightmare is to see their beloved home and life’s investment burn to the ground. A house fire can bring so much misfortune to your home and family members. The shock of a house fire can be so immense that people often feel lost for the first few minutes. And that’s the most important time when you can save and help.
A house fire is no joke. Not only does it affect the things and places we love, but the lives of the ones we love too. Even after the fire and initial shock is over, the emotions and the pressure of such a disaster can be overwhelming for many people.
A forgotten candle, hazardous cooking, faulty wiring, or a hair dryer, there are too many things that can lead to a huge house fire. No one is ever completely safe. As experts in structural engineering, we understand how horrible this can be for you and your family, and that’s why we’re here to help you be ready for any possible danger.
Here we will talk about the potential reasons beyond a house fire and what you should do next to minimize the destruction done to your home.
What Causes a House Fire?
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), among 1,388,500 reported fires in the U.S. during 2020, about 490,500 were home fires. This means $12.1 billion of house fire damage, 2,730 lives, and 13,000 fire injuries to property owners and their families.
Determining the main reason beyond a fire is often a difficult task. Usually, there’s more than one single cause that leads to a house fire. Still, we’ve all heard the saying “knowledge is power,” so knowing what can cause fire is the best precocious step we can take.
“A burning candle should never be left unattended.” is the same old warning on every candle we’ve ever bought. Still, many people keep forgetting about the candles they lit for their romantic dinner. They let it burn until something tragic happens.
According to NFPA, just between 2014 and 2018, around 7,600 fires were caused by lit candles.
If you enjoy the aesthetic light of candles, we recommend considering other decorative alternatives that provide the same lighting effects. Nowadays, the market is filled with luminaries powered by batteries that offer quite a realistic candlelight experience with the same flickering effect.
Christmas trees and holiday decorations
We all love the beautiful season of winter holidays, and what is a winter holiday without the decorations? While there’s no way we can skip the Christmas tree and its decorations, it’s essential to know how dangerous they can be so we can keep an eye on them.
As the holiday season comes to an end, evergreen trees also start to dry out, which can add to the potential danger. Christmas lights and candles lit around a dried tree can easily cause burning flames. With all the flammable objects around the tree, such as drapes and furniture, the fire can spread extremely fast, burning the house in a matter of minutes.
Yes, smoking is a very dangerous habit for your health, but this is not only because of the harm done to your body. Many house fires are also caused by lit cigarettes and ashes falling on your couch or bed.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, fires caused by smoking are among the deadliest home fires. Each year in the United States alone, over 600 deaths and 1,100 injuries are caused by fires due to smoking.
This is largely due to negligent and dangerous smoking habits. A good example is smoking in bed, which can ignite the bed, blanket, or a piece of cloth while the person has fallen asleep.
As one of the most common reasons beyond house fires, cooking accidents account for almost 49 percent of residential fires. Cooking accidents that lead to fire usually happen when the oil reaches a very high temperature (around 600 degrees Fahrenheit) and sets aflame spontaneously.
The fire caused by burning grease is very hard to control, so be very careful while cooking. Don’t leave the kitchen when you have food on the stove or in the oven, and make sure all your cooking tools are clean and oil isn’t building up in your cookware.
An unintended barbecue grill near the home walls or dry grass can also lead to a major house fire. Always check for gas leaks before firing up your grill, and be careful while cooking on the grill. There’s always time for baseball talk.
Each year, faulty wiring causes over 51,000 fires, 500 deaths, 1,400 injuries, and over $1.3 billion worth of damage. Electrical fires usually happen due to short circuits, overloaded circuits, and loose connections, leading to sparks and, eventually, house fires.
According to the NFPA, electoral fires in residential places are not as common. However, they are among the deadliest, accounting for about 18 percent of fire deaths. Taking a few safety measures in advance ensures that all your electrical systems are installed safely.
Keep in mind that old home’s wirings are prone to overloading currents and short circuits, which may result in house fires. Check your wiring system and electrical equipment with an expert every once in a while.
Recommended Reading: Electrical Fires At Home: Causes & Fire Prevention Tips
A potential house fire hazard is heating devices or other appliances that warm up while being overused. According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), just between 2014 and 2016, approximately 25,000 home fires and 300 deaths occurred in the U.S. as a result of heating devices.
The main danger with these devices is when fabrics and other flammable objects are located close to them. These objects can ignite if they come in contact with the system’s wirings. To prevent house fires caused by heating devices, read and follow the instructions carefully, and make sure the heater is off when you leave home.
What Can I Do After a House Fire?
Taking safety measures and being cautious can prevent many accidents. However, it cannot always stop disaster from coming. So while knowing what causes fire and how to avoid it, it’s also crucial to know what to do after a house fire.
Here we have provided a house fire checklist for you on how to decrease the devastating results of fire and recover from it as soon as possible.
Take care of yourself and your loved ones
We all love our home. It’s where we live and make memories. But your family and safety should be your priority when a fire bursts out. Make sure everyone is out of the house before the fire spreads, and don’t re-enter the house until you’re allowed to.
Call 911 and report the fire. If anyone is injured, ask for emergency medical assistance as well. Depending on the fire and its severity, you’ll be unable to get into the house for some time. You can stay with friends and family for a while, but if that is not an option, talk to a local disaster relief agency. The Red Cross and the Salvation Army can provide local disaster relief services.
When the house is safe and there’s no further danger, the fire inspector will allow you to see the house.
Contact your insurance agency
After taking care of your family, the next step is to deal with your homeowners’ insurance company. Contact your insurance agency and ask them what you should do next. To file a claim, you need to have complete records. Make sure you take pictures or, even better, take videos from the house and have a list of your ruined belongings. Get a fire report from your local fire department as well.
It’s essential to know the things covered by your insurance, so visit your agent and get the necessary information. They can also help you find cleaning companies and places to stay that the insurance company covers.
Take care of finances
Make arrangements with your landlord or mortgage lender, and tell them about the house fire. Keep track of your credit cards and inform your company about those you have lost in the fire. Some insurance companies may ask for records of the money you have spent, so save all your receipts.
Get fire inspection services
After a house fire, you need a team of experts to inspect the house and assess the damages that have been done. This is necessary if you want to file a claim later. Additionally, this will give you a better picture of the damage to your property so that a restoration services company can easily plan how to handle the restoration process.
Note: If you want to learn more about fire inspection and how long a fire investigation takes, make sure to check our website.
Clean up the house
After taking care of the initial tasks, you need to start thinking about how to clean up and fix your home. A house fire brings great damage that needs professional attendance. Damages to water pipes, gas leaks, and growing mould in walls and ceilings are not something you can handle on your own.
That’s when you can take advantage of a professional team that will help you rebuild your home to the pre-fire condition. First, the windows and doors should be fixed to avoid further damage from natural elements. Then the smoke stains and ashes must be completely removed from the house, including on the walls, ceilings, and more.
Then, once the cleaning process is done, it’s time to start the repairing process. Depending on the severity of the fire, some places may need a complete rebuild, while other rooms can be fixed with smaller repairs like painting and installing new doors and windows.
A Few Last Words
Watching your home in flames is one of the worst experiences in anyone’s life. And as if that’s not enough, there are the stressful processes of filing an insurance claim and repairing your home afterward.
Well, there’s no need to go through all these by yourself. Our experts on fire and explosion are happy to be by your side while you restore your home to its former glory.
With years of experience in structural engineering, fire investigation, and other fields, our Roar Engineering Fire & Explosion Investigation team is proud to stand with you during difficult times. If you have more questions, don’t hesitate and contact us now, our customer team is on standby to answer all your questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do people need most after a house fire?
It is essential that survivors be taken care of immediately after a house fire. First, they should be checked for possible physical injuries. Survivors often suffer mental shock, which should be dealt with professionally.
Then the family should be provided with a place to stay, a relative’s home or a hotel. Clothing, personal hygiene, and nutritious foods are the next important needs to be provided. It’s challenging to get back on your feet after a house fire, so donations of any kind are always a great help for fire survivors.
How do you emotionally recover from a house fire?
House fire is quite an overwhelming and stressful experience to deal with. For many people, the shock can leave lasting anger, depression, and anxiety. Children and those with vulnerable mental conditions may even need professional help.
However, for most people, common self-care strategies can be effective. Many stress-reducing techniques can help with the aftermath of shock, including exercise, meditation, walking, deep breathing, and more.
The important thing is to remember you have gone through a difficult time, and it’s okay to feel bad for some time. However, isolating yourself is not healthy. Reach out to your friends and family to pass through the hard times.
What is the first step in a fire investigation?
The first steps of a fire investigation usually begin with the work of firefighters. They’ll check the condition of the building and the overall scene. Since any failure in doing so can destroy important evidence, the fire site should be handled very carefully.
A fire investigation expert must ensure that everything stays untouched and that the overall fire scene is not distracted by other possible dangers, such as natural elements or human intrusion.
What is an inspection expert in the field of engineering?
Generally speaking, inspection experts are responsible for various duties, including measurements and testing certain products or a situation for a company. They are often asked to evaluate the quality of items and report possible issues and problems to management.