Fire in homes as a result of defective products is sadly more common than it should be. Fortunately, products have become safer as injured plaintiffs have litigated for safer designs. Some common household products for fires are clothes dryers, toasters, toaster ovens, and heating appliances. The National Fire Protection Association keeps statistics on fires that are started in American households. Some common products known to start fires are discussed below:
- Clothes dryers. One in twenty-two reported home fires is the result of a clothes dryer. About twenty-two percent of fires involving clothes dryers are the result of some mechanical malfunction or failure. Thirty-two percent are caused by customer failure to clean the lint trap.
- Individual heating equipment was responsible for sixteen percent of all reported home fires. In many instances, these heating devices were left unattended or were too close to flammable material. Often, these heaters get extremely hot and can cause burns. It would be wise to look for products with automatic shut off features.
- Ovens and microwaves- the most fires in American households start in the kitchen. In most instances, cooking is left unsupervised and it gets out of control. In many cases, a smoke alarm in the kitchen would have detected the fore much sooner. It is recommended that cooking never be left unattended and installing and maintaining smoke alarms.
- The use of gasoline or propane in the home has been another cause of fires even though these have been declining. The common reasons for fires include using too much fuel and using the fuel too close to a heat source.
There are many things to do to prevent fires and to keep them from spreading if the fire is the result of a malfunctioning device. With electrical appliances, make sure all of the electrical wiring is properly installed or maintained. In older homes, make sure wiring is in-tact. Only plug in one appliance at a time and unplug it when not in use.
For clothes dryers, make sure that they are properly grounded. Make sure the dryer has been installed by a professional and it has a vent that will vent the hot air outside the home. Clean the dryer vent regularly. Do not dry clothes that have been exposed to paints, fuels, or other flammable substances.
For microwaves, make sure they have been tested by an independent agency. You can then register the product and be notified of a recall. Plug the microwave into the wall only and not through an extension cord. Remember that food heats unevenly in a microwave so use caution and never heat baby bottles to avoid burns.
If someone is injured as the result of a product, it is best to seek an attorney to evaluate your case. A defective product will fall under products liability, and a plaintiff must prove that there was a defective design that can be reasonably changed or that there was a defect caused somewhere in the supply chain.
This article is for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Do not rely on the above information as all cases are different and different laws apply to different cases. Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance. If you were injured by a household product please call one of our attorneys at David K. Kremin & Associates, and we will give you a free consultation. We never charge unless we collect for you. Please call 1(800) ASK-A-LAWYER or 1(800)275-2529.