Candles certainly set a mood, but they can also set fire to your home. The National Fire Protection Association notes in their 2015 report that between 2009 and 2013, U.S. fire departments responded to about 9,300 home structure fires that were caused by candles, with over a third of them occurring in the bedroom. (Here are more winter dangers to watch out for.) Lieutenant Thomas Murphy of the Belmont, New Hampshire Fire Department warns against leaving candles unattended, especially when they’re placed near an open window where a breeze can send the flame flying onto flammable items, and if you have pets, as they can easily knock a candle over. If you have pets, consider investing in Lucid refillable candles, which automatically extinguish when they tip sideways.
Constant extension cord use (and this color cord)
If you’ve been using extension cords 24/7 to keep a lamp or any other device plugged in, it’s time to unplug. “Besides being a tripping hazard, extension cords can get overloaded, causing fires” Lt. Murphy says. “They should be for temporary use only.” It’s also important to not use extension cords that are partially folded or that run underneath rugs. Doing so can cause the casing to wear out, making them prone to getting a short and causing a fire. Finally, keep an eye out for thin, brown extension cords. Lt. Murphy explains that this particular kind of cord is more likely to generate excessive heat buildup and catch on fire. For maximum safety, use the cord that’s attached to an appliance and plug it directly into an outlet.
Combustible items near the stove
Resist the urge to keep mail, magazine recipe clippings, paper towels, napkins, tissues, newspaper recycling, and anything else that’s potentially flammable near a stove. “You need to have a 36-inch clearance of anything combustible around any fuel burning stove,” Lt. Murphy says. Watch out for these other potential fire hazards in your home.