Top Causes of Summer Fires

A fire in a grill.

Nothing says summer like warm weather, barbecues, camp-outs and fireworks. Without these things there would be no get-togethers, pool parties or Fourth of July celebrations. Summer brings fun activities but we should also be aware of the increased risk of fire during these months. When we’re aware of what causes summer fires, we’re better able to prevent one from happening and better able to prepare for one that might occur. Here are some of the most common causes of fires during the summer.

Grill Fires

In the summer months, many people grill outdoors for various holidays and barbecue dinners. In fact, 5,700 home grill-related fires occur each year. Fifty-seven percent of these fires happen in just four months—May, June, July, and August. Grill fires happen when someone mishandles the igniting of the grill with a spark, ember, or flame. Fire hazards derive from cooking with things like coals, charcoals, or ashes. Often times there are mechanical issues with the grill like broken containers or broken pipes that can also increase the risk of fire.

Take preventative measures by checking your grill’s condition before the grilling season begins. Clean the grill, the drip pan, and anything that could have grease on it from previous barbecue dinners. Inspect each part of your barbecue to make sure everything is attached properly. Additionally, be sure you are in a grill-friendly environment free of branches, roofs or any sort of overhang when igniting the grill. Be prepared for a fire, as grease and fat are likely to catch on fire. Keep baking soda near the grill in case a grease fire breaks out.

Air Conditioning Fires

About 2,300 residential air conditioners start fires each year. These fires are usually the result of inadequate wiring while having to deal with heavy electric loads, short circuits, or other electrical malfunctions. It’s not just the AC that catches on fire, if your AC heats up, flammable materials near your unit can catch on fire. Fires are most likely to occur when it’s hottest outside—between 2 and 8 p.m. While it can sometimes be impossible to be comfortable in your home without the AC on, there are ways to keep your home cool even if you don’t have the AC on all day.

Inspect your air conditioner’s wiring systems each year to prevent these types of fires. Also, find ways to use the AC less during the day. Not only will you save money, you can save your home from a potential fire. Using fans, keeping windows open during the night, and closing blinds during the day are just some ways you can keep your house cool without AC.

Arson Fires

Arson fires are the third-leading cause of fire injuries and fatalities. These fires usually peak in the month of July especially around the Fourth of July holiday since it’s not only firework season, but the weather is usually quite dry and hot, too. It is important to properly store any unused fireworks so they aren’t at risk of accidental combustion or misuse.

Smoking Fires

Smoking fires are common throughout the year but it’s important know they are the leading cause of fatal fires. These fires start by improperly putting out cigarettes. If you’re outside enjoying activities like camping, be careful when smoking. Keep used cigarettes off the ground, and make sure they are properly put out before throwing them away so any dry grass nearby doesn’t catch on fire.

Summer is a time to get out and have fun. But the weather isn’t the only thing that heats up during these few months. Be aware of the risk of fires and prepare by checking the batteries in your smoke detectors and having functioning fire extinguishers. If you find yourself faced with a fire emergency this summer, don’t hesitate to call us!

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