Mobile homes are homes. We know, we know. We are stating the obvious but think about it for a moment.
“Home is where the heart is.”
“My home is your home.”
“Home, Sweet Home.”
These sayings point out the importance of home to us. Your mobile home houses your family, the possessions you hold dear, and your memories. Your home is in some way, a portion of yourself.
“Okay, I get it. My home is important. What’s your point?”
Point being, you need to protect your home. In this article, we’ll discuss 5 causes of mobile home fires and how you can prevent them.
MOBILE HOME FIRES
House fires are one of the most dangerous things that can happen in a mobile home. Working to prevent fire hazards should be of first importance when in a mobile home. Ignoring those potential fire risks can be costly!
According to a 2013 report by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there are some staggering statistics. On average, between 2007 and 2011:
– There were 206 civilian deaths in association with mobile home fires.
– 434 civilian injuries resulted from mobile home fires.
– A total of $179 million in direct damage was caused by mobile home fires.
The HUD codes implemented in 2007 did not result in a great enough reduction in mobile home fires to lessen the yearly average of fires in the study above.
Fires are not only costly when talking about finances and insurance, they’re also costly in regards to the lives inside your mobile home. Understanding the ins-and-outs of mobile home fires can protect your finances and your family.
PREVENTATIVE MEASURES FOR MOBILE HOME FIRES
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In other words, take time now to prevent fire. If you don’t, the damage may be irreparable.
One way of protecting your children from fires is through education. No, we don’t mean math or literature. Teaching them the proper procedures during a fire can save their lives.
- Implement fire drills in your home.
- Teach your children the proper escape routes from every room; bathroom, living room, kitchen, bedroom, etc.
- Do a verbal quiz every 3 months, followed by a practice drill.
- By doing quizzes and exercises, you will not only train them to think the right routes out of the house but also physically train them how to use those escape routes.
- Show them how to crawl when the house fills with smoke.
- Teach them how to open different kinds of windows in various rooms in your mobile home.
- Your kids should know how to stop-drop-and-roll if their clothes catch fire.
- Another educational fire survival technique is showing them how to wet a cloth and hold it over their mouth while they try to exit the mobile home. Smoke inhalation can be just as deadly as the fire itself.
First, make sure your home has smoke detectors. If your mobile home does not have them, install alarms right away! There should be at least one in the kitchen and another high up on the wall adjacent to the bedrooms.
If your mobile home already has smoke detectors installed, be sure to check that there are batteries inside and whether or not they are dead. Dead batteries in smoke detectors can lead to fire-related fatalities. Test the alarms every month by pressing the test button.
Second, purchase fire extinguishers for your mobile home. You should have two extinguishers in your home: one in the kitchen and one by the furnace.
They should be:
- Able to be used on class A, B, and C fires.
Teach every member of your household how to use them. If you buy smaller fire extinguishers (waste not, want not) they only last 10-15 seconds! Shoot straight and true. If you can afford to have a small extinguisher in each room, then that would be the ideal option.
Make sure you have access should an emergency occur. Don’t block windows or doors. Those are the key exit points if a fire breaks out. Note that if a fire breaks out in a mobile home, windows are the preferred, primary exit route during a mobile home fire. Doors are actually not recommended.
Lastly, do not store combustible material under your mobile home; either in winter or summer! A spark, electrical surge, or a build up of heat can set the combustible material ablaze.
5 CAUSES OF MOBILE HOME FIRES IN KID’S ROOM
If you have older children in the home, one thing is for sure; they love screens. No, not window screens. Phones, tablets, computers and other handheld electronics with screens are favorite among children, and all of these things need to be charged.
There are quite a few hazards when it comes to being a techie.
First, repeated plugging in and out, awkward angels, and unsupported weight all lead to breaking cables. The cable’s outer insulation will break away from an end of the cord, and the bare wires inside will be exposed. It’s okay to be cheap, but squeezing as much use out of an exposed cable creates a fire hazard. Inspect your children’s cables and throw away any with exposed wiring.
Second, when those charging cords break, it is not too hard to find a replacement online, and most are pretty cheap too! But, many of these cheap aftermarket cables have not been appropriately tested for quality assurance. These cheap cables can overheat and become a potential fire hazard. Fork out the extra cash and buy better quality charging cables for your children’s tech.
Third, when kids have a lot of devices, a power strip may seem to be the quickest, easiest fix. However, a power strip can create fires due to electrical surges and shortages, as they build up heat. If you plug something into a power strip, and the other things dim or flicker, then it is a sign that you have been, or are now, overloading the electrical circuit. An overloaded circuit can lead to sparks that could cause a fire.
Fourth, another issue comes into play with the increased need of charging. It is recognized that batteries in phones and other portable devices have increased in their ability to power a device for much longer than in past years. However, along with this advancement in batteries, there is an increased need to charge. Consequently, outlets are being used frequently. Also, there have been advancements in mobile games and apps that take a lot of juice to run them. This has resulted in more charging more often. Wear and tear on an outlet can lead to electrical problems that may lead to fire.
Most kids don’t think about where their phone or device is while it’s charging. Some set their phones on the bed, carpet, under the pillow, etc. These places and others like them cause the devices to produce an extremely high-temperature output while charging. This current trend in increased charging periods per day has also produced a higher amount of fire hazards. Make sure to teach your children that devices that are charging should be placed on cool, hard surfaces, such as dressers, tables, and desks.
OTHER FIRE HAZARDS (NOT DIRECTLY RELATED TO TECHNOLOGY):
Fifth, another fire hazard in your children’s bedroom is curiosity. Kids are always asking questions, whether audibly or mentally, “Why do we do that? What do we do with this? How does this work? Why is this here? Why does it do that? What can I do? Why can’t I do this? I wonder what I can make this do?” Curiosity is critical to learning, getting wisdom, and growing up.
However, according to various studies, there are some shocking findings:
– 15% of all deaths resulting from fires are children between the age of 0-14.
– 41% of all children that die in fires are under 5.
– If kids find a source of fire, and it peaks their interest, they will often take it to confined places to observe it; under beds, in closets, behind furniture.
From the numbers above, we can gather that curiosity is a blessing with two edges. If you don’t train your children to wield their interest correctly, it can produce death. Teach your kids about fires; what they feel like, what they smell like, how do fires start, and the damage they can cause. Show them what they should do when they find a fire source.
There are quite a few things you can include in fire education.
– Teach that fire is a tool to be used for specific purposes. This will demystify fire, and help to lessen the wonder of fire. They will be less likely to take and hide it.
– Think of some helpful adjectives to teach your children that fire is no laughing matter; danger, dark, damaging, deadly, quick, consuming, etc.
– Take your children to the local fire department. Many stations will offer a quick demonstration for the children so they can see what fire does and how dangerous it can be.
Check out these 4 surprising facts about mobile home fires.
In this post, we go over 4 important facts regarding mobile home fires. We have combed through numerous articles and statistics. We hope to produce more infographics like this. One of the most alarming fact that we wanted to highlight was the reduction of mobile home fires since HUD introduces new manufacturing law requirements.
EXTRA TIPS TO CONSIDER REGARDING FIRE SAFETY
- If you have heat tape on any of your water pipes, check for warm spots.
- Keep your matches and lighters in a designated place away from the reach of your children. Make a receptacle for children to place any matches or lighters they might find, and then check frequently to empty it.
- If any of the rooms in the house have older lamps with shades, table lamps, or lava lamps, make sure to enforce a, “no hanging clothes over this,” rule. A quick way to generate heat, and possibly start a fire.
- Replace the batteries in smoke detectors every year!
- If you use an extension cord on a regular basis, make sure to not run it under rugs or carpet. It is not advised to use extension cords on a permanent basis, think of alternative ways to position what you need to be plugged in closer to the outlets.
- Do not leave Kerosene heaters, space heaters, fireplaces, or wood stoves overnight. Kerosene heaters are notorious for being the source of house fires, and Kerosene itself can be linked to health issues. Space heaters put an extra strain on the electrical circuit, which leads to wires heating up.
- Besides exit routes, also teach your children how they should crawl and not walk standing straight up when the mobile home is filled with smoke. Show them how to “stop-drop-roll” in case their clothes were to catch on fire, which we mentioned above.
KEEP FIRES OUT AND TURN THE SAFETY ON
Fire is not a bad thing; it is beneficial to mankind. Fire is part of our everyday lives, and even if some of the appliances in our homes have replaced the natural flame, the ideas and concepts were drawn from the original use of fire. But, beneficial things should not be treated lightly, especially if it can light up more than just candles!
With understanding devastation caused by mobile home fires (statistics above), the sources of mobile home fires (fire hazards listed above, and what should be done in the case of a mobile home fire (fire safety above), you can protect both your mobile home and family.
Don’t forget to acquire these items for fire safety:
– Fire Alarms: Kitchen and Bedroom Areas
– Fire Extinguishers: Kitchen and Near Furnace
We wrote this article because we care about you, your family, and your mobile home. Please, keep this information in mind when you are trying to protect your home and family.