According to the National Fire Protection Association, more home fires take place during the winter months than any other season. Tragically, nearly 900 people in the U.S. die in house fires during the winter each year. So, what exactly causes winter home fires? And what fire prevention steps can you take to keep your home safe during the cold season? Read on for the best fire prevention practices for ensuring a safe winter season.

What Causes House Fires in the Winter?

Heating equipment is a big culprit behind home fires during cold months. Heating equipment includes space heaters, which are notoriously dangerous if placed too close to flammable materials such as clothing, bedding, curtains, or paper products. Dirty chimneys are another leading cause of winter house fires. Central heating systems and water heaters also cause house fires in the winter. 

Electrical equipment also poses a high risk for home fires during winter. For example, holiday lights and portable generators cause many home fires each year. Likewise, cooking and kitchen fires are very common during the holiday season. Lastly, candles burned during the coldest months of the year are also a common cause of house fires.

Fire Prevention Tips for Staying Safe this Winter

House fires are often preventable by employing tried and true fire prevention strategies. Follow these fire prevention safety tips to keep you and your loved ones safe throughout the winter season.

  • Avoid distractions when cooking
  • Avoid overloading outlets and extension cords
  • Clean laundry vents and ducts
  • Clean your chimney before having a fire
  • Ensure your fireplace has a sturdy screen or glass to prevent sparks from flying into your home
  • If buying an artificial tree, purchase one with a fire retardant
  • If using a generator, make sure it vents outside
  • Keep all cookware clean and free of grease
  • Keep all flammable items far away from space heaters and electrical outlets
  • Keep the area around your fireplace clear of any flammable items
  • Keep dryer, furnace, stove, and all other vents free and clear of snow
  • Keep plenty of water in real Christmas trees
  • Replace all batteries in your carbon monoxide and fire alarms
  • Turn all handles on pots and pans inward 
  • Turn off any portable heater when leaving the room
  • Turn off holiday lights when you go to bed

What to Do if a Fire Breaks Out in Your Home

If your fire alarm goes off, your number one priority is to get everyone out of the house as quickly and safely as possible. Do this by yelling “Fire” multiple times as loudly as you can. Then call 911. If you have a small kitchen fire and a readily accessible fire extinguisher that you know how to use, you may attempt to put out the fire. Remember, though, that a fire damage restoration company can restore your home but cannot save your life. So, if you cannot get the fire out, leave the house immediately.  

Restoring Your Home After a House Fire in Southern Oregon

The best way to keep your family safe is to practice responsible fire prevention strategies in your home. But if you do suffer from a fire, help is available. ProKleen offers the most experienced fire damage restoration, water damage restoration, and smoke odor removal services in Southern Oregon. We are a top-rated service provider on HomeAdvisor and received the Angi Super Service Award for 2022. For 24-hour emergency service, call 541-537-4094. For non-emergency service, you are welcome to message us.