Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. This is especially true when it comes to fire damage. Smoking is one of the main causes of fires. The second main cause is cooking, followed by heating equipment and fireplaces. While smoking, cooking and heating equipment may be the primary causes of fires, these types of fires can easily be prevented.  


Be Safe when Smoking a Cigarette


From old magazines to mattresses, almost everything within a home can become a fire hazard when a cigarette or cigar is left unattended. According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly “three-quarters of civilian deaths due to smoking-material fires involved fires that started in bedrooms (40 percent) or in living rooms, family rooms, and dens (35 percent.)” Smoking material fires are primarily started when a smoker drops ashes on a flammable item usually due to lack of sleep or medication. Sadly, most of the victims of smoke-related fires are nonsmokers.

Homeowners can avoid smoke related fires by taking a few precautionary steps when smoking inside. First, you should ensure that whoever smokes in your home uses an ashtray. Ashtrays should be deep and wide enough to contain all the cigarette or cigar ashes and they should be set on something sturdy that is hard to ignite.


Second, you should dowse ashes and cigarette butts in water before throwing them away to ensure they don’t ignite anything in the trash can. Another preventive tip is to check under the sofa cushions and other areas for discarded cigarette butts. And always stay alert when smoking, especially when smoking in the bedroom.


From the Frying Pan into a Fire


How many times have you left the pot roast simmering in the oven? According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking-related fires are the second leading cause of fires. “…between 2011-2015, fire departments responded to an average of 170,200 home structure fires that involve cooking equipment per year.” Cooking-related fires often peak during holidays such as Thanksgiving.   


Preventing cooking fires starts with being present. If you must leave the kitchen, turn off the stove no matter if you’re frying, grilling or broiling food. Secondly, wearing tight-fitting clothes or tightly rolled sleeves will ensure your clothing does not catch fire.


Space Heaters and Fireplaces


News reports of fires started by space heaters and other heating equipment igniting a mattress or some other flammable item fill our televisions during the chilly, winter months. Between 2011-2015, heating equipment fires accounted for 15% of all reported home fires and 19% of home fire deaths. Similarly, fireplaces also pose a fire hazard for homeowners, with nearly 28% of home heating fires resulting from failure to clean the chimney or fireplace.


To prevent becoming a victim of a heating equipment related fire, homeowners should keep combustible objects at least three feet away from space heaters. You should also purchase space heaters with a thermostat control mechanism that will switch off automatically if it falls over. When using a fireplace, you should remember to use a fireplace screen wide enough to cover the opening. You should also make sure the fire is completely out before going to bed or leaving the house. And perform annual cleaning checks and monthly damage checks on the chimney.

A few cautionary steps can be taken to prevent fires caused by smoking, cooking, and heating equipment. But in life, things happen. Anderson Restoration & Emergency Services can provide a wide range of fire damage services to assist Jacksonville homeowners in cleaning and restoring their homes in cases of fires started by smoking, cooking and heating equipment.