While we might not go through each day worried about the risk of fire, our homes contain multiple fire hazards which we must understand and take proper precautions against. In this article, the team at Island Fire are going to look at the ways you can improve and maintain fire safety in the home.
Fire and Smoke Alarms
Fire and smoke alarms are our first line of defence against fire. A fully-functioning fire alarm can save lives, so it is absolutely crucial that you make sure your fire alarm is working properly. Regularly testing your fire alarm is relatively simple – if you can, you just need to press the button on the alarm to test it. If you can’t reach the alarm for any reason, ask a friend, family member or someone you trust to come round and test it for you.
By being responsible with your electricity and your appliances, you can minimise the risk of electrical fires occurring. Take care not to overload sockets – don’t use multiple additional plugs and make sure the voltage of any socket is suitable for the voltage of the appliance you’re plugging into it. Make sure to switch off all non-essential appliances when not in use, too.
Avoid using damaged electrical cords and wiring, and if you know that your wiring is outdated, consider booking an electrical inspection for a clear picture of the condition of your home’s wiring.
Be Careful when Cooking
Cooking is one of the most common sources of fires in the home, as we make use of hot oils, fats, open flames and extreme temperatures. However, while it’s common, it needn’t be inevitable – take care whilst cooking and you can minimise the risk of fire breaking out.
Make sure all materials like paper and textiles are kept away from open flames, hobs and toasters. Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing and long, baggy sleeves if possible – a stray arm can easily drift towards the hob and set alight. If you have to leave the room, turn the hob off temporarily, and make sure that no flammable items – be it packaging or tea towels – are left in the oven by accident when cooking.
If a fire breaks out when cooking, do not throw water over it – if you have a fire blanket, cover the flames if you can, but if not, get everyone out of the house and phone the fire brigade.
Put out your Candles
Lit a candle for some evening ambience? Make sure that you blow them out before you retire to bed or if you plan to leave the room for an extended period of time. Even though a candle flame is small, all it takes is the candle to fall over and a room – and subsequently your home – can go up in flames.
Make an Escape Plan
Whether you live alone or you live with roommates or family, make sure you know exactly what to do if a fire breaks out. The most important thing is to know that you can escape the property quickly in an emergency – for above-ground apartments, make sure you can get to the stairs quickly, and activate your building’s fire alarm to alert other residents. At home, make sure you can quickly get outside – keys should be in easy reach if the door is locked, and routes to the doors should be unobstructed.
Once you’ve escaped the property, call the fire brigade. Do not attempt to tackle fires yourself – if you have a fire blanket, you may be able to use this to extinguish a chip pan fire, but as soon as you see a fire growing or spreading, make your escape and alert the authorities.