On January 12th a likely avoidable tragedy claimed the lives of 6 young children and critically injured two others. Early that morning, a fire tore through the Baltimore home where a mother and her 9 children slept. Within minutes it was over; the fire had gutted nearly the entire home leaving only a burning frame and stunned onlookers who congregated in front of the home. The mother had managed to escape with three injured children but was unable to rescue the other 6 who remained inside. To date, investigators have only been able to rule out foul play, leading them to believe the fire was related to an issue with the gas, electric or supplemental heat.

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According to the NFPA, there were 2,290 deaths caused by home fires in 2016 alone; a staggering 50% increase from 2015. When the figures are closely examined, trends begin to emerge that shed some light on what’s causing the fires and the surrounding circumstances. A common theme that stands out in the statics is space heaters being used by families living in lower income areas.

For many families, the cost of repairing or replacing an HVAC unit is more than they can afford, so when faced with cold weather they seek out other means of heat. Space heaters, while safe with conservative and monitored use, become dangerous when relied as a primary source of residential heating. Couple that with aged / faulty wiring and you have a recipe for a potentially fatal home fire.

Space heaters are not the only causes of home fires; if not properly maintained everything from your electrical panel to water heater is a safety hazard. Even if your home is in tip top shape, every household should have working Co2 / smoke detectors and a well-planned escape route. Always remember, in the event of a fire, the number one goal is to remove yourself and loved ones from the home as quickly as possible.

Here at the Michael & Son Blog, we’ve written numerous articles regarding home fire prevention and we invite you to read them over. In light of the recent disaster in Baltimore, we wanted to remind our readers that the danger of a home fire is very real and very avoidable. Be sure to check in with us every week for more home safety tips. Also, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube page to find out about upcoming events, great savings and much more!