Extreme heat, open flames and electricity are the most common causes of fire in German apartments. Many fires would have been avoidable if people had been careful with potential sources of danger.
Defective cables and other electronic components can cause sparks and smoldering fires. Around every third fire is caused by electricity. In some cases, the problem (such as a broken cable) goes unnoticed for a long time until a visible fire breaks out.
Most of these fires are caused by electrical appliances that have shorted, improperly connected, and or overheated. Heaters of all types and refrigerators are particularly dangerous. A classic among the causes of fire is also the iron “forgotten” on a flammable surface. In order to reduce the dangers, it makes sense not only to switch off electrical devices or switch to stand-by, but also to disconnect them completely from the mains. Only when the plug is pulled is there no longer any voltage on the device.
Old, defective or patched wiring in the walls is also tricky. A cable fire in the wall is caused by an overload. This happens very rarely, but is often noticed too late.
Dangerous place in the kitchen
Many home fires start in the kitchen. The forgotten pot on the hotplate or the kitchen towel next to the gas flame can catch fire all too easily. It is sufficient if the local heat development exceeds a critical value. An ignition spark is not necessary at all.
Fat fires are particularly feared If a pan with grease residues is on fire, under no circumstances should water be used to extinguish it, as the resulting oil-water mixture can explode. Instead, it helps to put a lid on the pan with a bold grip. These measures cut off the oxygen supply to the fire.
Christmas and New Years Eve
In the Advent season and at the turn of the year the fire brigade has a lot more to do than in the rest of the year. This is due to the seasonal sources of danger: brightly burning Christmas trees and Advent wreaths as well as misdirected New Year’s Eve rockets.
That candles should never burn unattended is one of the basics of fire protection. However, this rule is very often disregarded. Electric candles are safer than wax candles but of course they’re not as atmospheric. Hence, for many people, they are not a serious alternative.
Other sources of danger
Human misconduct accounts for a large part of the causes of fire. These include carelessly discarded cigarettes and flammable liquids that have been stored too close to heat sources. In extreme cases, overheated spray cans can even explode.
House or apartment fires very rarely result from lightning strikes Some statistics assume less than one percent of the insured claims. This suggests that the cause of the fire, lightning, is perceived as overdimensioned by the public.
Arson is involved in roughly every tenth fire damage. Not only house fires, but also a significant proportion of forest and industrial fires are deliberately started. The arson often manifests itself in the fact that the fires break out in several places at the same time and that the police can detect typical “fire accelerators” such as gasoline at the scene of the crime. Only about half of the cases end with the apprehending of the perpetrator.