The frequency and costs associated with fires highlight the need to understand the major causes of home fires. With residential fires occurring every 88 seconds, it is important to identify risks early to prevent significant losses. In observance of Fire Prevention Week, Thorp & Trainer Insurance is sharing the 10 most common causes of home fires.
“Ever since organizations in the U.S. began tracking structure fires, we have been able to provide better suggestions to help prevent fire-related accidents,” said Howard Thorp, President of Thorp & Trainer Insurance. “We are hopeful that homeowners will be able to use these insights to help keep their families safe.”
According to the Insurance Information Institute, structure fires are more likely to occur on residential properties. While it is challenging to list every leading cause of home fires, certain causes are more likely to occur, the U.S. Fire Administration reports.
Here is the list of the 10 most common causes of home fires, and how to avoid them:
Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires. Fires are more likely to occur around Thanksgiving and Christmas when hosts are busy entertaining guests.
Homeowners fire up their heating equipment every year without performing regularly scheduled maintenance. It is typically recommended to schedule an inspection of furnaces and boilers every year.
Hosting a barbeque can be dangerous if homeowners don’t understand basic safety precautions when using a grill. Flare ups, the placement of the grill, and improper propane maintenance could all lead to a home fire.
Electrical fires are among the top causes of residential fires, especially during the winter. As the days get colder, families may not realize that equipment like space heaters should never be connected to extension cords, which can catch on fire from being used improperly.
Not to be confused with inadequate wiring, electrical equipment fires are usually referring to incidents where damaged wires cause sparks. Homeowners should always check the condition of cords.
While the prevalence of careless smoking has declined because less people smoke, cigarette butts are known to cause fires. Having an ashtray handy for guests to sit outside could help you prevent a fire.
With Halloween around the corner, homeowners should consider safer alternatives to lighting Jack-O-Lanterns. Homeowners should also be mindful of candles that are lit during other festive holidays.
Turpentine and paint thinners are just a few of the flammable liquids that can easily cause a fire. Many DIY homeowners may not know how to properly handle these substances during projects, which could lead to a fire.
Christmas Light Decorations
If Christmas trees are not regularly watered, they can become dry and ignite from the heat generated from decorations. Fire safety experts always recommend that homeowners remove trees from their home as soon as the holiday is over.
Children Playing with Fire
Children may accidently cause a home fire because of their curiosity with flames. To help prevent this from happening, homeowners are encouraged to keep lighters and matches out of reach. As an added measure, homeowners can secure stove handles.
Understanding the common causes of fires can help homeowners identify and address potential risks for fires. As we head into the colder season, Thorp & Trainer Insurance encourages homeowners to be mindful of these hazards to help keep your family members and guests safe. If you have questions about your insurance policy, we encourage you to speak with one of our insurance agents at (401) 596-0146.
Line Coverage is an optional endorsement which provides payment for loss or
damage resulting from a service line failure. A service line constitutes
underground piping and wiring that is located at the residence premise and
produces a service, such as delivering water or power to the dwelling or other
structure from a utility or private water supply. A service line failure is
physical damage that results in a leak, break, tear, rupture, collapse or
arcing of a covered service line. Without this endorsement, any cost of repair
or replacement are the full responsibility of the homeowner.
Line Coverage can be purchased for less than $50 per year and is likely subject
to a smaller deductible than on your existing homeowners’ policy. At Thorp
& Trainer Insurance,
always looking for additional ways to safeguard our policyholders. To see if
your policy is eligible for this unique coverage, please contact our office to
Line Coverage is a relatively new and innovative endorsement that can be added
to some homeowner’s insurance policies
Some of the most memorable summer moments occur when friends
and family gather in the backyard for a barbecue. These gatherings can make for
a great summer; however, it is important to remember safety when
At Thorp and Trainer, we want to ensure this is your best
and safest summer. Please review the followingsafety tips to help keep everyone and everything safe at your next
- Clean the
grill – The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported that 22%
of structure fires were due to the grill not being cleaned. The 10 minutes it
takes to clean the grill before use will not only make the food you’re grilling
taste better, it will also protect you, your family, and your home.
abandon it – One in six backyard grilling fires begin when someone turns
their back on the grill. Fire can spread quickly, but you can avoid this from
happening by keeping your eye on the grill.
- Keep the
grill at a distance – An alarming 17% of grill-based home fires start
because of the grill being placed too close to flammable material. Keep your
grill away from walls, low overhangs, fences, dry grass, or anything else that
cautious of whether it’s a gas or charcoal grill – It is important to
inspect the propane tanks of gas grills before use. A spray bottle of soapy
water can help spot tiny leaks – douse the suspect area with several sprays of soapy water and look for
bubbles forming after the spray settles. Soap increases the surface tension of
the water, making the bubbles formed by escaping propane gas persist for a few
seconds and stack on each other, making it easier to spot leaks.
- Trim excess fat – While fat is needed to keep the
meat juicy and flavorful, if it is too fatty it can cause flare ups and fires.
Keeping a spray bottle near your grill is a good idea to stop flare ups
immediately, while they are still controllable.
- Keep children away from the grill – Children under the age of five
account for 35% of contact-type burns each year. While kids are playing in the backyard, they
can easily forget to be cautious around a hot grill. Make sure your children
are kept at a safe distance and that hot coals are disposed of properly and
away from areas of play.
dedicated to helping you protect what matters most. Contact us at 401.596.0146
to discuss additional ways to safeguard your family and property. At Thorp
& Trainer, “Your Security Is Our Concern.”
Reason #1: It’s not included in a standard homeowners insurance policy.
Not sure if your home insurance policy includes water backup coverage? Then it’s time to give our office a call and speak to your account manager.
Water backup coverage is an optional endorsement that must be added onto a standard homeowners, condo or renters insurance policy. Without the endorsement, you would be stuck paying for the cost of cleanup or damages caused by the failure of sump pump or back-up of sewers or drains.
Reason #2: It’s fairly inexpensive.
The average cost of water backup and sewer coverage is $50 to $250 annually, depending on the limits you select.
Different limits are available to match people’s different needs. For example, think about what’s in your basement—it’s an area that’s more likely to flood during a water backup. Is it partially or fully finished? Is your basement a storage area for expensive or hard-to-replace items? Work with your account manager to choose a limit that matches your unique coverage needs.
Reason #3: Water backups can happen to anyone.
There are a lot of misconceptions about who is more or less likely to experience a water backup situation. And the truth is it doesn’t matter if you live on top of a hill, if you don’t have a basement or if your home has never had a water backup issue before. Everyone has the potential to experience this type of loss.
Reason #4: It qualifies you for Loss of Use coverage if your home is uninhabitable.
In most cases, a sump pump failure or the back-up of sewers or drains would not make your home uninhabitable. But in the rare case that it does make your home uninhabitable, having water backup coverage would qualify you for Loss of Use coverage.
Loss of Use covers additional living expenses. So if a water backup makes your home uninhabitable and requires a hotel stay for a couple of days, your claim adjuster may approve you for Loss of Use coverage.
Tips for avoiding water backups:
- Don’t pour cooking oil or grease down your drains.
- Only flush bathroom tissue in your toilets.
- Consider replacing your line with plastic pipe to prevent tree roots from entering it.
- Consult a sump pump professional, typically a plumber, to check your sump pump regularly and look for any pre-existing drainage system issues.
- Install a backwater prevention valve to prevent sewer backups—in fact, most new homes are built with this already installed.
- Buy a battery backup to keep your sump pump running when the power goes out or buy a water-powered backup sump pump.
Credit: The Grange Guide to Insurance
Knowing the location of your home’s main shut-off valve is extremely important. If a plumbing disaster should occur in your home, being able to get to your main shut-off valve quickly can mean the difference between a little water on the floor and a major homeowner’s insurance claim.
If you’re reading this and you don’t know where your main shut-off valve is, now is the time to change that! Here’s a quick guide on how to easily find your home’s main shut-off valve, as well as the individual fixture shut-off valves throughout your home.
Main Shut-Off Valve Scavenger Hunt
Tip #1: Check Along The Outside Areas Of Your Home – Main shut-off valves are rarely ever within the central confines of a home, so go ahead and start by looking around the outer borders of your house.
Tip #2: Don’t Bother Checking Any Upper Levels – The main shut-off valves will be on either the ground or basement level of your home, so don’t waste your time checking on your upstairs level.
Tip #3: Check The Inspection Report That You Received After Purchasing Your Home – If you still have the inspection report that was provided to you upon the purchase of your home, the location of your main shut-off valve should be listed on the report.
Tip #4: Follow Your Main Water Line – In most cases, your main water line will lead to your shut-off valve with no additional piping or deviations. That being said, if you know where your water main is, figuring out where the shortest path into your house would be a good way of finding the main shut-off valve, too.
Following these steps should easily help you locate your main shut-off valve and help you be prepared to halt a plumbing disaster in its tracks. If you went through all of these steps but still couldn’t locate your main shut-off valve, it’s possible that it is outside, underground, along your water main line, so check there as well.
Individual Plumbing Fixture Shut-Off Valves:
- Sinks: Underneath the sink (usually in a cabinet), you’ll find a small valve that you can turn clockwise to turn off the water if there’s a sink emergency.
- Toilets: Much like with your home’s sinks, you should find a small valve behind the toilet, connected to the wall. Turning the valve clockwise will stop the water in the case of a major leak or overflow.
- Washing Machine: In the case of washing machines, you’ll find two valves behind the machine that will both need to be turned off in the event of a plumbing emergency. Some houses may have a lever in place of or in addition to the valves. You might have to maneuver your washing machine out of its nook in order to access these valves or the lever.
Whether or not you ever have a plumbing emergency it’s good to know where your shut-off valves are so that you’re ready to act quickly. Knowing your home is the first step in protecting it from unnecessary damages!