Preventive measures against fires in the home

Preventing fire accidents at home is very important. This is especially important in the homes of older adults who live alone or have vision, hearing and mobility problems.

Last update: July 03, 2021

The risks of domestic accidents are always the order of the day. From bumps, falls, poisonings and electrocutions, to fires. In this note we focus on fires that occur in the home and provide the best tips to prevent them.

To prevent fires in a home where you live with children, one of the most effective and recommended measures is to have smoke detectors. Other helpful considerations have to do with supervising children while using the kitchen and having circuit breakers for electrical ground faults.

On the other hand, when it comes to older adults, domestic accidents usually occur due to the natural wear and tear of the organs involved in sight and hearing. Also due to muscle weakness and problems in relation to balance.

Most common causes of fires in homes

When it comes to home fires, it's not just fire that is harmful. You also have to consider the smoke and toxic gases that emanate from the fire.

A good way to prevent fires is to know their causes. Among the main domestic reasons can be counted the following.

Dangerous elements in kitchens

In these spaces of the house, special care must always be taken if the possible causes of fire are to be minimized. Not only are matches, lighters and burners a hazard, but also accumulated fat in pans and pots which can be a favorable factor for ignition.

Kitchens have many items that can start a fire. Having everything in order and without dirt helps to reduce the risk.

Fireplaces and stoves

These two very useful elements to combat the cold in winters can also be factors of imminent danger of ignition if due care is not taken. When using fireplaces it is recommended to apply a protection to avoid sparks. In relation to stoves, the ideal is not to bring flammable materials, such as papers or fabrics.

Electric fire

Many times, electrical fires also occur in homes due to unusual and random increases in the voltage of the electrical network. Therefore, the use of circuit breakers is recommended as a precaution.

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Incorrect storage of flammable products

The accumulation in homes of different flammable items, such as kerosene, ethyl alcohol, acetone, gasoline or ammonia, can unleash real fiery disasters if the proper precautions are not taken.

It should be noted that if a small amount of any of these products is spilled, fire will find its best and most certain food in them.


These useful, aesthetic and even romantic objects can be real traps. Harmless at first glance, candles start fires if you forget to put them out and a gust of wind brings a curtain, cushions or any type of fabric or flammable material closer.

Home Fire Prevention Tips

Sometimes there are situations in life that cannot be avoided or controlled. Fortunately, many fire-generating situations in the home can be prevented. This is stated by the Argentine Security Chamber in its document "Advice on the prevention of fires in the home".

Pay special attention to the use of gas

It is recommended to close the gas taps after use. All those rooms in the house that have gas heaters, ovens or stoves must have adequate ventilation to the outside.

If you smell gas in the home or suspect a leak, all windows should be opened immediately. In these cases it is essential not to turn on lights, since an explosion can be generated.

Be very careful with faulty electrical installations

As far as possible, It is suggested to review the electrical installations of the home with a licensed electrician. It is also recommended not to overload the plugs or use too many extensions.

To take extreme precautions, all electrical appliances must be unplugged when not in use. Water should never be used to put out a fire of this type.

Extensions and slippers with multiple plugs increase the risk of fire-related accidents in the home.

Have emergency numbers on hand

The Argentine Security Chamber recommends not only having a telephone device nearby, but also the corresponding contact numbers for emergencies. They can be firefighters, police, medical emergencies or civil defense.

You can also read: Types of burns: care and treatments according to their degree

The special case of electrical fires and the care of the elderly

María Fernández Vigil Iglesias, in her work "Fire safety in homes for the elderly in Spain: characterization of the problem and proposal of solutions", presented at the University of Navarra, warns that fire risks are multiplied by 3 in the case of older adults. So it warns of the capital importance of taking preventive measures in this regard.

On the other hand, Dorindo Cárdenas, in his study "Modeling of sources that generate electrical fires by thermal conduction", presented at the Technological University of Panama, draws attention to the number of fires produced by poor electrical connections. And he wonders what will be the real cost that citizens must pay for the sake of scientific advancement and technological progress.

In this sense, older adults should receive help and advice from their children or close people who review the home facilities and reduce the associated risks. You have to consider that aging brings with it health problems that promote accidents.