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What Causes Home Fires?

Fireline Home Fires

It’s important to know what the most common causes of home fires are so that you can practice safe habits every day to prevent a house fire.

A report published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has consolidated the data concerning home structure fires that occurred between 2015-2019. The report is meant to provide statistical information, educate the public on home fire risks, and outline effective ways to minimize risk through safe practices and operational fire safety systems. It is important for everyone to know and understand common fire hazards so they can be vigilant and maintain daily practices that keep themselves and their families safe.

The Frequency of Home Fires

The NFPA report outlines that the data is aggregated from an average of 346,800 home structure fires reported each year. During this time, home fires accounted for 26% of all reported fires—meaning more than 1 in 4 fires happen in someone’s home. Even though these only make up one-quarter of all reported fires, they also account for 75% of civilian deaths and 72% of civilian injuries related to fires, illustrating how critical it is to be mindful of fire hazards in your home and take steps to mitigate any potential risks.

Leading Causes of Home Fires

In the NFPA report, there are five leading causes of home structure fires outlined—cooking, heating equipment, electrical, smoking materials, and intentional.


Cooking is responsible for 49% of home structure fires, making it the most prevalent risk by a large margin. In addition, it also accounts for 42% of home fire-related injuries. Cooking is a daily activity in the home, and it can be difficult to give it the respect and attention it deserves. When you cook, make sure you give it your full attention and be cognizant of the risks involved so that you can stay safe. When you have finished, be sure to check that every cooking appliance is turned off. 

Smoking Materials

Of the top five causes of home structure fires, smoking materials is the lowest on the list. While smoking materials only caused 5% of home fires and 9% of home fire injuries, they were accountable for 23% of home fire-related deaths. In contrast, cooking caused half of all home fires while only causing 20% of home fire deaths. While cooking presents the biggest fire risk, smoking materials are more likely to cause a deadly fire. Make sure any smoking materials are put out when you are done with them, and always set them in an ashtray that will not easily tip over. Of course, you must never smoke in bed.

Staying Safe

While you should always be careful and maintain safe habits, the most important thing you can do to protect your home, yourself, and your family is to keep your home fire safety systems operational. Regularly test your smoke alarms to ensure they are working properly, and change the batteries when you change your clocks twice a year. If any of your smoke detectors are not working, have a professional come out to service or replace them. They are an important line of defense for your home, so it is always a good practice to maintain them and ensure that they are operational. You can upgrade your fire safety systems to include additions such as central station alarm monitoring for a faster response from firefighters, as well.

Fire Protection Services from Fireline

Whether you need smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, or an automatic sprinkler system installed at your commercial property, Fireline has you covered. We have been protecting

people and property from fire damage since 1947—and our experience shows in our excellent work! We are known for our superb customer service, our expertise, and our reliability. For more information on how we can help your residential or commercial property, visit us online or give us a call at (800) 553-3405. We are in Baltimore, MD, with a second office in Leesburg, VA. For more fire safety tips, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

This entry was posted on Friday, August 19th, 2022 at 3:48 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.