House fires are one of the most destructive forms of damage your home can endure, as flames can spread rapidly and decimate anything they encounter. Even fires that can be quickly extinguished can lead to extensive damage to your home and property.

K-Factor Advocates, a team of public insurance adjusters in Montana, helps clients who have experienced fire and smoke damage. Beyond Big Sky Country, K-Factor Advocates provides coverage to customers in Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.

According to the American Red Cross, more than $7 billion in property damage occurs every year from house fires. An average of 2,555 people die every year from injuries related to house fires, and several thousand more are injured every year.

Fire can spread very quickly, and in many house fires, you may have as little as two minutes to escape before your home is engulfed in flames. Every second counts during a fire, so early warning is extremely important. Ensuring your home has a working smoke detector and having a fire escape plan can help keep you and your loved ones safe.

The majority of house fires begin in the kitchen while cooking, most commonly on stovetops, accounting for 48 percent of all reported house fires. Keep this area clear of clutter to avoid the rapid spreading of flames, and clean up grease buildup that can ignite fires. If a grease fire breaks out, don’t use water to extinguish the flames. If the fire starts in the pan, place a lid on it to smother the flames. If the blaze has spread beyond the pan, try covering it with a large cookie sheet or pour a large amount of baking soda on the fire.

It’s also important to keep items that can catch on fire clear of things that produce heat. Heating equipment is the next leading cause of house fires, accounting for 14 percent of house fires between 2014-2018, according to a report by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Space heaters in particular are the offenders in 81% of fatal house fires caused by heat, the NFPA says.

Smoking materials are the leading cause of fire deaths in the U.S. Though the CDC reports a declining number of smokers in the U.S., around 12.5 percent of the population in 2020 as opposed to 15.5 percent in 2016 and 33.2 percent in 1980, smoking remains the leading causes of house fire deaths in the nation and is the cause of around 5 percent of all house fires.

Smoking outside and dousing cigarette butts with water before disposing of them are a couple of ways to curb the potential for smoking-related house fires. Never smoke near medical oxygen, as it can explode if it comes in contact with a spark or flame. From 2012-2016, medical oxygen was involved in 13 percent of fire deaths caused by smoking material, according to the NFPA.

Implementing proper fire prevention and safety measures in your home could not only save you from costly fire and smoke damage but could also save your life.


K-Factor Advocates is a public adjusting firm that specializes in insurance claim negotiation, policy language and interpretation, and claims estimating. K-Factor’s team of public adjusters work on behalf of the policyholder. Coverage areas include Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan.

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