Fire Safety – Protect Your Home
Fire is a constant threat in the home. We’ve all seen the videos of how fast even the smallest of fires can grow into a house-consuming blaze. A moment’s inattention, an unhappy confluence of circumstance or a freak accident is all it takes to turn your home into an inferno.
But you can protect yourself and your family from the dangers of fire. A little planning, adequate preparation and some commonsense will slash the chances of a fire taking hold in your home.
Fire Safety Danger Zones
With it’s electric-powered utensils, stove, oven and flammable cooking oil, the kitchen is one of the most fire-dangerous places in your home. The tips below can make your kitchen a safer place.
- Don’t overload electrical outlets or power boards with multiple appliances.
- Ensure your stove is leak-free if it’s gas and that all it’s connections are safe if it’s electric.
- When cooking, reduce the chance of accidental spillage by turning saucepan handles towards the rear of the cooker.
- Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen.
- Keep a fire blanket within easy reach of the stove in case of oil fires.
- Store matches where children can’t get at them.
The garage is perhaps the most overlooked place in the house when it comes to fire safety. All those cans of paint, petrol for the lawnmower, the BBQ gas cylinder, bottles of turps and methylated spirits….
If you want to diffuse your garage-bomb ensure you store all flammable liquids in the appropriate containers. If you have a heat source like a water heater in your garage make sure your flammable items are kept well away from it. Dispose of paint and oil-soaked rags immediately after use – don’t store them in a pile in the corner. Prevent fire spreading into your home by installing a solid, self-closing door between the garage and living areas. Disconnect power tools when not in use and never start up petrol powered tools inside the garage.
Finally, ensure you have the two things which should be mandatory in every garage – a fire extinguisher and a smoke alarm.
Keeping Living & Sleeping Areas Fire Safe
Eliminate the possibility of electrical fires in the bedroom by turning off electric blankets, lights, heaters and TVs etc. at the wall when you’re not using them.
If you’re a smoker, please, be fire safe and don’t do it in bed.
If you have a security grille over your bedroom windows, ensure you can either release it if it ever becomes necessary to escape a fire, or that there is alternate exit from the room.
In the living room, screen open fires and log burners. Clean chimneys each year. Don’t leave embers and ashes smouldering in open fireplaces overnight. Make sure heaters have at least a metre of clear space on all sides. Regularly check that all electrical outlets and cords are safe and not loose or frayed.
Preventing Fires in Other Areas
The bathroom, with its combination of water and electricity, poses another fire safety challenge. Turn off and unplug all electric appliances off when not in use. Don’t allow towels or clothes to hang near heaters.
Install smoke alarms in hallways that run outside the kitchen and from living areas to bedrooms. A smoke alarm is the cheapest way to save a life and many families across New Zealand owe their survival to these $10 devices.
Check your smoke alarms each month and change the batteries twice a year.
Stay Fire Safe
By following the fire safety tips above, and especially by installing smoke alarms and keeping them in proper working order, you’ll make your home a safer place to be.
To learn more about fire safety check out this video.