House fires are much more common than people usually think. So, how common are house fires? Between 2011 and 2015, the U.S. fire departments reported an estimated of 358,500 residential home fires every year. In the reported house fire cases, there were about 2,695 deaths, 12,000 injuries and property damage averaging of $7 billion. Residential home fires usually start from open flames, accidents, and cooking, among other causes.
How Common Are House Fires? - Where They Typically Start
Kitchens - 50% of residential home fires
Cooking is the number one cause of fires at home. 50% of all reported fires cases started in the kitchen. Most house fires occur between 5:00 and 8:00 p.m -- which are the usual times when one is cooking dinner.
It is relatively easy to prevent such infernos. Be watchful while cooking and keep all flammable items away from the oven. It is prudent to be attentive while cooking and to have a fire extinguisher somewhere close.
Bedroom - 7% of residential home fires
An estimated 7% of residential infernos start from the bedroom. As you can imagine, bedrooms are packed with flammable items like mattresses. Bedroom fires spread very quickly. To be on the safe side, you will need to upgrade to a bed that adheres to the new flammability standards. In essence, that means ditching all mattresses made before 2007.
Chimney - 6% of residential home fires
Dirty chimneys can cause a chimney fire. In the reported 25,000 cases of chimney fires between 2011 and 2015, there was an accompanying loss of 120 million dollars in property damage. Regular cleaning is necessary to prevent these fires. Ideally, the soot residue should not be more than ¼ inch thick.
Living Room - 4% of residential home fires
A small percentage of residential home fires start from the living room. Culprits to watch out for include fireplaces, candles, faulty electronics, and HVAC systems. The presence of couches makes living room fires one of the fast-spreading infernos. To prevent living room fires, you will need to inspect fireplaces and service your HVAC system regularly.
Laundry Room - 3% of residential home fires
Three percent of all residential house fires start in the laundry room. The dryer lint is the most common cause of fires in laundry rooms. The vents and filters all need to be cleaned regularly. Stop the dryer when it starts to overheat.
Outdoor fires - 3% of residential home fires
Outdoor fires start from porches, grills and bonfire spots. These fires spread to the house when you don't put them out immediately. After enjoying a barbecue or fireworks outside, put out all fires before you retreat to the house. Not only will being careful with fireworks help prevent the risk of a house fire, but it will also ensure the safety of those around it. According to an article from the Insurance Journal, at least eight people passed due to a firework's mishap in 2017, and 12,900 were injured.
Attic - 10,000 residential fires every year
Perhaps the attics are the last place you would expect an inferno to start. Well, according to data from the fire department, that line of thinking is wrong. Usually, the leading cause of attic fires is faulty electrical wiring.
To prevent attics and all other types of electrical fires, watch out for exposed wires and have them sealed or replaced. Industry professionals recommend unplugging all electrical and electronic appliances after use and switch off lights when you leave home.
So, how common are house fires? An estimated 358,500 home fires occur every year. 50% of these fires start in the kitchen, 7% begin in the bedroom, and 6% are chimney fires, 4% of all residential home fires start in the living room, while 3% start from the laundry room. A small percentage (3%) of home fires start from the outdoors while 10,000 cases of all yearly home fire incidences start from the attics. In order to prevent a house fire from happening, it’s important to take all the preventive measures outlined in this article to keep your home and family safe.