Unattended cooking and unattended candles are the top causes of preventable house fires in Texas, according to a survey of 50 fire departments across the state including the Waco Fire Department.
The survey by Allstate Insurance Co. asked fire chiefs and fire marshals about the most common causes of house fires in the communities they serve.
Unattended cooking and candles topped the list, followed by overloaded electrical outlets, misuse of extension cords and improperly discarded cigarettes.
“While kitchen fires are the most common, fires in the bedroom tend to be the most deadly,” said Tom Keith, an Allstate agent and a captain with the Judson Metro Volunteer Fire Department.
“It only takes a few minutes to walk through your home, identifying fire hazards and making sure you have fire prevention techniques in place.”
Using light bulbs with incorrect wattage, dirty lint in dryer filters and matches and leaving lighters within reach of children were also common causes, the survey showed.
Allstate says claims from non-weather-related fires are up 7 percent this year.
The firefighters surveyed put the installation of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors at the top of the list of things residents can do to protect themselves from fire.
They also recommended having and knowing how to use a fire extinguisher and developing and practicing a fire escape plan.
“Too many fire fatalities happen just several feet away from exits to the home because there are no clear pathways to the doors,” Keith said.
“That’s why it is critical for you to create a detailed escape plan that you practice with your family on a routine basis.”
Firefighters urge residents to change batteries in smoke detectors at the same time they reset their clocks when Daylight Saving Time ends this weekend.
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