Friday, January 21, 2011

Did you know approximately one-third of home fires and home fire deaths occur during December, January and February?

Michigan ranks 8th in the country for the number of those fires.

Michigan, January, 2011 – From 2005 to 2009, State Farm Insurance experienced the highest number of total fire and smoke claims (excluding lightning) in December with 19, 323 claims, followed by January with 18, 495 claims.

Unattended cooking remains one of the top causes of home fires. But home heating equipment is second to cooking fires for causing home structure fires. More than half of home heating fires occur during December, January and February. Avoid setting up a space heater too close to curtains, furniture, or even holiday decorations. Remember to keep at least three feet of clear space around it and set it up on the floor unless it is designed for other use. Also don’t forget to reduce the chance of overheating, electric cords should never be bundled together or run under rugs or carpet. In Michigan last year, almost 257 reported fire claims to State Farm were from heating sources or cooking.

Fireplaces can be the culprit for many home fires. Most chimney fires are caused by the buildup of creosote, a highly combustible by-product of burning wood. To protect your chimney from creosote buildup, have it inspected and cleaned annually. Also, when cleaning your fireplace, put embers in a metal container and set them outside to cool for 24 hours before disposal. And remember; do not burn trash, cardboard boxes or Christmas trees in the fireplace. These items burn unevenly and may cause a dangerous flash fire.

Other possible causes of fires children playing with fire, unattended candles, counterfeit electronics that may not have passed inspections, overloaded outlets, and during December frayed holiday lights or dried out Christmas trees.

About State Farm®
State Farm insures more cars and homes than any other insurer in the U.S., is the leading insurer of watercraft and is also a leading insurer in Canada. State Farm’s 17,700 agents and more than 67,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts – almost 79 million auto, fire, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 34 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit® or in Canada®.