Causes of Home Fires From National Fire Prevention Association 2009 data
(3) Candles were the third leading cause of home fire injuries - mostly from burning candles left unattended.
(2) Heating is the second cause of home fires, fire deaths, and fire injuries. Avoid furnace fires and furnace back-fires (oily smoke throughout your home). Have your furnace cleaned and serviced once a year. This is much cheaper and smells a lot better.
(1) Cooking is the Number 1 cause of home fires and injuries. Unattended cooking is by far the leading cause of kitchen fires. Keep a fire extinguisher by a kitchen exit and use it only on small fires, otherwise leave immediately and call 911.
Note: All fires start as small fires.
Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors Almost all U.S. homes have at least 1 smoke alarm, but 2/3 of home fire deaths result from fires in homes without working smoke alarms. Test smoke alarms once a month and change the battery twice a year the same time you change your clock. Smoke detectors last 10 years. The date of manufacture is on the bottom, sometimes under the battery cover. Carbon monoxide detectors last 7 years. When they are near the end of their life span both make the same chirping sound they make when the battery is dying. If you think you have a cricket on your ceiling, check your detectors.
Residential Sprinklers Only in the movies or on TV does every sprinkler activate when there is a fire or the bank robber is trying to escape. In 90% of fires with sprinkler systems only one head activates. Only the head(s) directly over the fire activate by the heat. 90% of fires are extinguished by one.