Every day it seems there is another tragic report of a Louisiana family losing their home, and belongings in a fire that started within the home. What's to blame for this surge of house fires every year around this time?

December alone is one of the leading months for home fires. According to the National Firefighters Association, there are an average of 790 fires a year started by Christmas decorations alone.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, half of all home fires happen during December, January, and February. Makes sense right? This is typically when most people are experiencing the coldest months of the year. As a result of that more people are looking for ways to keep warm and not knowing the safest practices to do so.

As freezing temperatures appear on the horizon for Louisiana, the increased use of heating devices becomes essential for warmth. However, with this heightened usage comes an elevated risk of house fires.

According to the Fire Marshal's Office emphasizes the need for precautionary measures to protect lives, property, and pets.

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 Here are valuable safety tips to safeguard against house fires during the chilly Louisiana winter:

Guidelines from the Louisiana Fire Marshal's Office advise:

  • Positioning space heaters at least 3-5 feet away from combustible items such as blankets and curtains.
  • Directly plugging heating appliances into wall outlets, avoiding power strips or extension cords.
  • Avoiding the use of stoves or ovens as heating sources.
  • Being cautious not to overfill fireplaces or wood-burning stoves.
  • Never leaving candles, open flames, or space heaters unattended.
  • Ensuring functional smoke alarms are installed in your home.
  • Using carbon monoxide alarms to detect this odorless, dangerous gas produced during the burning of fuels.
  • Heating and cooking equipment like furnaces, stoves, and fireplaces can be potential sources of carbon monoxide.

In Louisiana, as in many other regions, house fires can occur due to various reasons.

Some common causes of house fires in Louisiana include:

  1. Cooking Accidents: Cooking-related incidents, such as leaving stoves unattended, overheating oil, grease fires, or combustible items placed too close to heat sources, are among the leading causes of house fires in Louisiana.
  2. Electrical Malfunctions: Faulty wiring, overloaded electrical outlets, outdated electrical systems, damaged cords, or appliances in poor condition can lead to electrical fires.
  3. Heating Equipment: During the colder months, the use of heating equipment like space heaters, fireplaces, and furnaces increases. Improper use, lack of maintenance, or placing flammable materials near these heating sources can result in fires.
  4. Candles and Open Flames: Unattended candles, especially during the holiday season, or using open flames near flammable materials pose a significant fire hazard.
  5. Smoking: Carelessly discarded cigarettes or smoking materials can ignite furniture, curtains, or other flammable items within a home.
  6. Christmas Trees and Decorations: Dry, natural Christmas trees or faulty electrical connections in holiday decorations can easily catch fire if placed near heat sources or if electrical components are damaged.
  7. Children Playing with Fire: Curious children experimenting with matches, lighters, or other flammable materials without supervision can accidentally start fires.
  8. Flammable Chemicals: Improper storage or mishandling of flammable materials, such as gasoline, propane, or cleaning products, can lead to fires if exposed to heat sources or ignited accidentally.
  9. Outdoor Fires Spreading: Fires originating outdoors, such as wildfires or grass fires, can spread to nearby homes if not controlled, particularly during dry or windy conditions.
  10. Appliances: Malfunctioning or poorly maintained appliances like dryers, ovens, or microwaves can lead to fires.

LOOK: These Are Some Simple Tips That Make Fire Starting In Your Fireplace Easy, But Be Careful

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Gallery Credit: Rudy Fernandez

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