House Fires on the 4th of July: Why You Need Homeowners Insurance

“Celebrate the independence of your nation by blowing up a small part of it.”

The Simpsons

Independence Day is coming right up! Patriots across this great country will spend approximately $1.5 billion on fireworks, and they’ll spend nearly as much on beer and wine as well.

Please make no mistake: We are not killjoys who disparage Americans for celebrating the 4th of July in the most American way possible. But as one of the leading providers of homeowners insurance in Iowa, we would hate for your patriotic festivities to result in an accident that could engulf your house in flames in only five minutes.

Approximately 19,500 fires were reported to local fire departments on the 4th of July in 2018. These fires resulted in five deaths, 46 injuries, and over $100 million in property damage. More than 25 percent of fires started by fireworks are reported on the 4th of July alone!

How to Prevent Firework Accidents on the 4th of July

Unfortunately, defective products and acts of God both mean that there is no such thing as 100 percent safe firework usage. But if you observe a few firework safety precautions, you’ll enjoy a significantly lower risk of suffering from injury or a house fire this 4th of July.

  • Do not purchase illegal fireworks.
  • Never hold a lighted firework in your hands.
  • Soak spent fireworks in water before discarding them.
  • Never light fireworks indoors or near flammable materials.
  • Never use fireworks under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Never attempt to handle or reignite malfunctioning fireworks.
  • Wear protective eyewear while lighting or standing near fireworks.
  • Keep a bucket of water for extinguishing flames available at all times.
  • Do not let young children light or use fireworks, and keep older children under close supervision. (Iowa state law prohibits the sale of fireworks to individuals younger than 18 years of age.)

The 4th of July Is Not the Only Holiday With an Increased Risk of Fire

The 4th of July isn’t even the holiday that causes the most fires. That distinction belongs to Thanksgiving, a day when an average of 2,300 residential building fires are reported throughout the U.S. – more than double the national average on all other days.

It’s easy to appreciate why Thanksgiving can be so disastrous, as many inexperienced cooks feel obligated to cater for their extended families. That is why three out of four house fires on Thanksgiving day are cause by cooking accidents alone!

Christmas and Christmas Eve come in close second to Thanksgiving, and not solely because people cook more often during the holidays. Firefighters respond to over 200 house fires involving Christmas trees every year. These are accountable for six deaths, 16 injuries and over $16 million in property damage. Approximately 25 percent of Christmas tree fires are the unfortunate result of an electrical malfunction or a heat source placed too close to the tree.

Should you ditch the traditional Christmas tree in favor of greater safety? What a terrible thing to even suggest. Just take especial care to supply your live Christmas tree with plenty of water. This fascinating video demonstrates just how much more dangerous a tree becomes once it has dried out!

We would like to advise against one traditional Christmas tree decoration: candles. They alone are accountable for eight percent of Christmas tree fires.

Not All House Fires Are Preventable

Observing every possible fire safety precaution will not fully protect your home against disaster. Lightning causes approximately 17,400 fires and $138 million in property damage every year. It is estimated that half of all fires are the result of arson, a crime which causes $1 billion in property damage and kills hundreds of Americans every year. Even strong winds are capable of causing power lines to spark and ignite nearby dry brush.

The best way to fully protect yourself against the extensive costs associated with fire damage is by purchasing homeowners insurance. This insurance policy can help you pay for repairs to your home and its detached structures, as well as replacement for all of your personal property contained therein.

Even a small fire can cause several thousand dollars in property damage. A large one will destroy everything you own. Don’t jeopardize your lifetime of hard work – contact the Hoffman Agency today if you are a property owner, renter or farmer living in Iowa. Together we will safeguard the things that matter most to you!

Happy 4th of July from The Hoffman Agency team!