Tips for Preventing Winter Fires
Electrical heaters, fireplaces and other heat sources provide many people much needed heating during cold winter months. However, heat sources are often the cause of accidental fires in many peoples’ homes.
Between 2011 and 2015, more than 486,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for fire or burn injuries. The majority of victims were injured in a fire that occurred in a residential structure, according to the American Burn Association.
Unfortunately, many people who suffer burn injuries are left in a debilitating and painful condition. If you suffered a fire or burn injury caused by another’s negligence, contact the Lynch Law Firm, PC’s New Jersey burn injury lawyers to discuss your legal options during a free initial consultation. We will explain your legal rights and whether you may have a claim against the at-fault party that entitles you to compensation.
Causes of Winter Fires
It is important to stay alert to potential hazards that can cause winter fires. Some of the most common causes of fires that occur during the winter season include:
- Space heaters – Space heaters are commonly used during the winter to provide a centralized heat source. However, fires can occur when flammable objects like clothing, blankets or other items are too close the heater.
- Fireplaces – Some fires are caused by leaving gas or logs burning in a fireplace. For this reason, be careful to ensure a fire in a fireplace is completely extinguished.
- Electrical outlets – An electrical fire can result from an overworked outlet where too many space heaters or heating appliances are plugged in at once.
- Candles – Candles are one of the leading causes of structure fires. Keep candles away from flammable objects.
If a fire does break out, it is important to have a working smoke detector in your home so that you and your loved ones can quickly be alerted.
Preventing Winter Fires
Fortunately, there are several ways that winter fires can be prevented. Some of the most effective ways to prevent these fires include:
- Use the latest technological advances – If you decide to use a space heater, purchase one that comes with an automatic shut-off so that it will not ignite if it tips over. Some space heaters also have a timer that will turn off automatically after a certain amount of time so that the occupants are safe if they fall asleep and forget to turn it off.
- Keep space heaters away from flammable objects – Space heaters were responsible for 40 percent of home heating fires between 2009 and 2013, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Be sure that you give at least three feet between the space heater and furniture, décor or any other items. Place the space heater on a level surface and be sure that children and pets are not around it.
- Inspect your fireplace – If you have a fireplace, refrain from overloading it with too many logs and make sure the fire is extinguished before you leave. You should also regularly check the chimney for soot buildup and blockage.
- Keep an eye on the oven – Keep an eye on food as you cook. If you leave the kitchen, make sure all burners are turned off.
- Install smoke detectors – A working smoke detector can alert you to a possible fire in your home. Smoke detectors should be on every level of your home and in every bedroom. Replace the batteries at least twice a year.
- Dispose of your Christmas tree – Christmas trees are combustible and become a serious fire hazard as they continue to dry out. You should always dispose of your tree shortly after Christmas to decrease the risk of causing a fire in your home.
- Remove unnecessary clutter from your home – Clutter can be a major hazard if it is too close to space heaters, stoves, fireplaces or candles.
- Do not overwhelm outlets – Many electrical outlets in homes are overused during the holidays, especially in winter months when additional heat sources are used. Try to limit the number of appliances you plug into in an outlet to reduce the risk of causing an electric fire.
Contact a Burn Injury Lawyer
If you believe your fire injury was caused by another’s negligence, it is important that you contact a knowledgeable attorney to help you understand your legal rights.
The Lynch Law Firm, PC’s burn injury lawyers will provide you with a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal options and determine if you may be entitled to compensation.
If you decide to move forward with your case, we handle every aspect of your case on a contingency fee basis. This means we will not charge you any upfront legal fees for our services so that you can focus on your recovery. We only get paid if we help you secure the compensation you need.
To get started, complete a Free Case Evaluation form now.