With winter fast approaching, its important to take the opportunity to consider enacting some of these at-home fire safety tips. The past year has been one of the most dangerous in regard to wildfires. The increased number of fires, many of which were preventable, put more firefighter lives at risk and destroyed natural habitats. The National Centers for Environmental Information reports that in 2021 alone, 5,907,288 acres of American land were burned. Let’s take a closer look at a few simple ways to protect yourself and those around you from the dangers of fire.

The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsementThe appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement

1. Manage heat sources

Whether your home has a fireplace, baseboard heaters or you use a space heater, many structure fires are caused by those indoor heat sources. Especially as the colder months approach, keep clothing and other items away from the fire or vents. Make sure that the space heater is placed on a level, non-flammable surface.

2. Invest in a good fire alarm system

According to the San Francisco Fire Department, two-thirds of people who passed away as a result of a fire that was started in the house were asleep when the fire began in 2018. Even if you have a fire alarm system, it is important that you make sure to keep it in top shape and replace any dead batteries.

3. Put out your cigarettes

Cigarettes are among the top causes of fires because they can be extremely dangerous when not disposed of correctly. According to the National Library of Medicine, cigarettes and “smoking cause an estimated 30% of the U.S. and 10% of global fire death burdens.” Make sure that every spark is extinguished in a predetermined area.

4. Mitigate electrical fires

Electrical fires are some of the most dangerous because they can be very explosive and cause not only structural fires but expand into wildfires. Always hire an electrical professional to do all electrical work to prevent damage. Provide some education to your children about how electricity can be dangerous and outlets should not be played with.

5. Put out your outdoor fires

According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, 9 out of 10 wildfires are caused by humans. Here are a few tips that will reduce the likelihood of an accidental fire.

  • Build campfires in open areas, away from low-hanging branches.
  • Always douse your campfires and ensure they are fully extinguished.
  • Consider the environment and conditions before setting off fireworks.

Structure fires can often lead to wildfires; all it takes is a small spark to start a terrible and costly fire. Be careful and, most of all, mindful of the consequences of your actions.

Consider keep these tips in play year-round. While winter brings on the use of space heaters and fireplaces, the potential for fire is everywhere. Stay safe, and remember to thank a firefighter next time you see one.