The risk of house fires Winter is a time when the risk of house fires increases, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, a division of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. That’s due to an increased use of fireplaces, space heaters, wood stoves and other methods of heating such as cooking stoves, according to the agency.
Arkansas ranks in the top five nationally for residential fires, says Brigette Williams, communications information officer for the American Red Cross in Arkansas.
Between the Christmas Day snow and ice storm that slowed down most of the state and New Year’s Day, the state’s American Red Cross chapter was notified of 66 residential fires, Williams says.
“A lot of it was because people were doing their best to stay warm,” she says.
Throughout the year, Arkansas averages four house fires each day, Williams says. “Fire is the Red Cross’s No. 1 disaster response — not just in Arkansas, but across the country.”
Some fires are caused by faulty wiring or not performing routine maintenance on heating and cooling units, fireplaces, chimneys and clothes dryer vents. Others are caused by things most of us do everyday — leaving the kitchen when cooking or leaving flammable items too close to space heaters or wood stoves.
Most fires — save the handful each year caused by rare events such as arson or lightning strikes — are preventable by keeping your eyes and ears open and using common sense.
Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for the full story.