A simple lapse of concentration or a quick oversight may be all it takes to set your home ablaze. Costing millions of dollars, and many lives, it is important to plan ahead and prepare for the chance that your house could fall victim to fire.
What many people fail to do is make their home fire safe. By taking a few simple steps, you could increase protection to your house and assure the protection of the people and items that mean most to you.
Causes of House Fires House fires usually start in the home due to a range of easily avoidable situations. Some of the most common reasons for house fires are:
Candles and Oil Burners falling over or catching nearby items alight Open fire places with embers flying throughout the room Low hanging tea towels or oven mitts over stove tops or cooking appliances Heating appliances too close to furniture
Faulty electrical cords Matches and cigarettes not being completely extinguished before disposal
As you can see, most of these causes could be easily avoidable. Not to say that all house fire are caused by human error, but the risk of a fire would be reduced significantly by taking necessary precautions.
Tips to Fire Proof Your Home
Here are some of the best ways to protect your home from fire:
Although most people have smoke alarms in their house, many forget to check the battery. Without working batteries, it can put the lives of your family at risk. It's so important, that all homes are now required by law to have smoke alarms powered by mains electricity before being sold or tenanted.
Fire Safe Windows
Most house fires tend to happen at night time when the family is asleep. Once alerted to the fire, it is important for the whole family to be able to escape the house quickly. This is where fire safe windows come in.
Extinguishers and fire blankets are your best defence to smother and put out a fire. Be sure to have them in a known location around the house and get the routinely checked.
Stove tops and cooking appliances need to always be handled with care. Cook with caution and never leave food unattended. It is important to assure there are no hanging combustibles like tea towels or oven mitts above stove tops or appliances. If a fire does occur, be sure not to try put it out with water as the water will cause the oil to explode. Use a lid, chopping board or fire blanket to cover the flame.
Maintain Your Surroundings
Create a 20-metre fire defence zone around your house. Remove overhanging tree branches and keep your grass trimmed. It is important to remove all dead leaves and branches from around your house as they are easily combustible.
Have Your Home Inspected
Get a qualified tradesperson whose experienced in electrical, plumbing and gas to come and inspect your house. They will test your appliances and assure there are no faulty wires or pipes. The worst fires are the ones you couldn't see coming.
What to Do If a Fire Does Occur
It is important that you have prepared not only your home but also the occupants of your home for the chance of a fire occurring. The best way to assure the occupants are prepared for a fire is to develop and communicate a home fire escape plan. To assure the protection of your belongings in the case of a fire, it is also a great idea to get a fireproof safe.
The home fire escape plan should explain what to do, and where to go if a fire has started in your house and you are unable to put it out. It should also have a layout graph of your home with arrows pointing from all areas of the house showing the best possible escape route.
The Department of Fire & Emergency Services Western Australia have put together a guide to dealing with a fire in your home:
Once you notice the fire, if possible, attempt to contain it and close the door to the room to stop it from spreading.
Put the escape plan you made into action.
If others are in the house, alert and assist them in leaving the house taking the safest possible route.
Be sure to stay low down to the floor to avoid breathing in the smoke.
Make your way out of your house to the safe location you agreed on in your plan.
Immediately dial (000) and alert your neighbours of the potential risk.
Some more great point you need to remember:
Never, under any circumstance go back into a burning house.
In the case of a fire, before opening a closed-door it is a good idea to feel it with the back of your hand. If you can feel the heat, take another route.
The key to assuring survival in a home fire is to be prepared. Spending the time assuring your house is fire safe is the best way to reducing the risk. Assuring you take care in every-day activities such as cooking is also an important factor. Spend some time making a floor plan and fire escape plan, you never know, it could save your life.