Unfortunately, house fires occur every day around the country. Whether you live in an upscale family neighborhood, a suburban condo or apartment, or a mobile home, your house can burn to the ground in a short time if a fire starts. To protect yourself and your home, fire prevention is essential.

According to the National Fire Protection Agency, there were 501,500 house fires in the United States in 2015. Those fires resulted in 2,685 deaths, 13,000 injuries, and $12 billion in property damages. Statistics show that most house fires start in the kitchen from unattended cooking, especially when frying foods on top of the stove. Grease spills and spatters can ignite quickly from open flames. Cooking fires are the leading cause of fatalities in house fires and the second-leading cause of injuries. Over 50 percent of serious injuries occur when the homeowner attempts to put the fire out, rather than call the fire department.  

Although smoke alarms are mandatory in most states, house fire statistics show that many homeowners do not have them. In house fires where people died in the fire, three out of five homes did not have working smoke alarms. In homes that had them, they often had no batteries or were disconnected due to other reasons. Smoke alarms are inexpensive and easy to install. Installing a simple smoke alarm and Trimaco flame retardant surface protection or Aqua Shield can save your life in a house fire. 

If you have a house fire that doesn’t destroy your property, you’re left with smoke damage that can be difficult to deal with. Smoke from a house fire can cover walls, floors, ceilings, furniture, and draperies with thick, black soot that’s impossible to clean. If you attempt to clean it yourself, you will need eye goggles, gloves, a face mask, and a respirator to protect your skin and lungs. To start, use a shop vacuum to suck up loose particles of soot, then prepare to deep clean the entire house. You will need to clean all hard surfaces with soapy water or a vinegar solution, wash all fabrics and clothes, and dry clean or wash window coverings and carpets. You will also need to replace all filters in your heating and air conditioning systems and dispose of all food items that are not sealed.

If you had a major house fire with extensive smoke damage, don’t try to clean up yourself. It’s best to hire a professional smoke remediation company. They use special equipment to remove soot and smoke smells throughout the house, even in hidden areas like behind walls, air ducts, attics, and basements. Prices are reasonable and well-worth the time and effort required to do it yourself.