4 Types of Fires and How to Prevent Them

Smoking Materials

Part Two of the four-part series on the four main types of fires that are responsible for residential dwelling fires every year. In the US roughly, 75 percent of fires in homes are the results of adult human behavior. Often, these are preventable with a bit foresight and safety practices in place. The four most common types of fires that are responsible for house fires are heater fires, kitchen fires, electrical fires, and fires related to cigarette smoking. The focus of this short article will be smoking materials and the role they play in home fires.

Smoking materials include cigarettes, pipes, cigars and any other paraphernalia that can be lit and smoked. These materials started an estimated 17,200 home structure fires in 2014 according to data reported to US Fire Departments. These numbers have been consistent rising some from 2016 to 2018 to around 18,000 home structure fires. This article will focus on 2014 data since it was most readily available. In 2014, of the 17,200 house structure fires there were 510 deaths, 1140 injuries, and 426 million in property damage. Smoking materials caused 5% of reported home fires, 21% of home fire deaths, and 10% of home fire injuries. 6% of all property damage from fires is attributed to smoking materials.

The area’s most commonly found to be the origin for home smoking fires in 2012-2016 was:

  1. 18% of fires started on an exterior balcony or open porch.
  2. 43% of all deaths caused by fires were fires that began in the living room
  3. 34% of fire deaths were caused by fires that began in bedrooms

Smoking has inherent adverse health risks, but the potential for fire is there. Here are some good ideas to keep your home a bit more fire safe:

  1. Make sure you smoke outside and make sure your butts are out completely.
  2. Do not smoke near anything that is combustible.
  3. Keep water nearby to drown your butt if necessary.
  4. Make sure you have working smoke detectors on every level of your house and outside every bedroom as well.
  5. Make sure you have good fire extinguishers.
  6. Call 911 and GET OUT if a fire does start and it cannot be put out quickly and easily.

Sometimes, the unforeseeable happens, regardless of how safe and prepared we are, but doing what we can to prevent potential fires in our homes go a long way in keeping families safe.