If you haven’t watched the last two episodes of NBC’s hit drama, This Is Us, then you might want to stop reading now. Or at least skip over the next couple paragraphs.
Over 27 million people watched the Super Bowl Sunday episode of This Is Us, and 27 million people cried as Jack Pearson gave his life for his family.
It was a gut-wrenching, tear-jerking, heartbreaking episode. Although everyone knew it was coming, it wasn’t any easier to swallow. The death of America’s favorite TV dad came with some frustration but was nothing short of heroic.
Everyone had a different theory of how it would happen, but everyone knew it was going to be a fire. Nobody saw that Crock-Pot coming. While a faulty Crock-Pot isn’t likely to cause a fire, there are many hazards in your home that could. According to the National Fire Prevention Agency (NFPA), there are 358,500 house fires per year, with a reported 2,510 people losing their lives on average. Over 90% of these fires are started by accident and are often caused by something in the home.
As I said, a Crock-Pot probably won’t cause a fire, but these are eleven potential fire hazards in your home:
1) The Dryer
Cleaning the lint out of your dryer is one of the first things we learn about doing laundry. Lint can be extremely combustible. The high heat levels can cause the lint to catch on fire. You should clean the lint screen every time you use the dryer. They don’t put warnings on there for no reason. It is even recommended to have a professional clean the components of your dryer every year or two to ensure everything is clear and safe. If you’re like me, at some point in the show you probably theorized that it would be the faulty dryer that would cause the death of Jack.
We have all pulled an electrical plug out of an outlet and seen it spark. That spark can be a lot more dangerous than we tend to think. Loose electrical plugs can produce unwanted sparks. Think of an outlet behind a couch. If you have something plugged in there, it can spark and catch upholstery on fire. It’s smart to use surge protectors to avoid any unwanted power surge. You should also unplug any items that aren’t in use, such as phone chargers, hair dryers, and laptops.
A fireplace is a wonderfully quaint addition to any home, but one that is not kept clean can be a danger. Over time, a chimney can build up with creosote, which is a combination of condensation and the parts of your fire that you are trying to expel from the house. If you use your fireplace often, then you should clean your chimney often. If creosote catches on fire, it has the potential to burn the whole house.
What? Something that we purposefully light on fire can cause a fire accident? It’s true. There are several ways a candle can create a fire. You should always extinguish a lit candle when you leave the house. Although a candle is mostly confined, it can fall over or ignite a nearby object.
5) Frayed Wires
If you use a charger for long enough, odds are it will become frayed at some point. An exposed wire is still carrying an electrical current. If it is laying on something flammable (a bed, for example), it can certainly catch fire. Same goes for any wiring. The best practice is to get rid of any exposed wires, no matter what.
Anytime someone is smoking inside the home, there is potential for a flame. Cigars, cigarettes, and pipes all create ash that can cause a fire.
7) Bathroom Exhaust Fan
Similar to a dryer, a bathroom’s exhaust fan can collect lint and dust. When the fan gets too dirty, it will not be able to ventilate the way it is supposed to. If you see that the exhaust fan is beginning to collect lint, it is time to clean it. A quick solution is to wipe away the visible lint on the fan cover. If your fan is still not ventilating correctly, then you may want to consider calling a professional.
8) Personal Heaters
Space heaters are a great way to keep a small area warm during the colder months. Often, people don’t think to turn them off as they are leaving the house. Also, make sure there is nothing flammable near the heater.
9) In-Wall Wires
When hanging pictures or mounting a TV, it is required to drill into a wall. Finding a stud is a relatively simple task, but being sure there isn’t a wire there can be complicated. Some things can happen if a person drills into a wire. It can cause a spark, which can ignite drywall or insulation that’s hidden inside your walls. It can also cause a short in a breaker. Some newer stud finders come equipped with a feature that can detect live AC wires. These are helpful and recommended when deciding where to drill.
10) Gas Leaks
Gas leaks can come from kitchen appliances, gas furnaces, or gas fireplaces. A continuous gas leak can leave gas sitting in a small space. When this happens, a spark or a flame can cause a fire or an explosion. It is important to contact someone immediately if you think you smell a gas leak. After that, you should either leave or open all of the windows to begin dispersing the gas.
11) Kitchen Appliances
We all saw this one coming. Kitchen appliances account for the highest percentage of house fires. Whether people step away from the kitchen while they are cooking or a towel catches flame, the kitchen is the likely starting point of a house fire. Even things such as forgetting to clean an appliance or misusing cooking oil can lead to a blaze.
Everybody’s heart sank when they saw the episode where Jack forgot to get batteries for the smoke detector. It is easy to forget to replace the batteries in your smoke detectors, but it doesn’t take long to ensure your safety. Check your smoke detectors regularly to make sure they are ready to warn you of any fire that might happen.
We recommend keeping a fire extinguisher in your home. Extinguishers are highly effective at putting out small fires. While you may never use it, it’s better to have it and not need it, rather than need it and not have it.
Be sure to have a plan. Map out how you are going to escape your home in the event of a fire. You never know, it might save your life.
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