It's true that in the UK, we don't have a dedicated fire safety week anymore. However, It's still important to raise awareness and make sure every family (or individual) knows what they can do to minimise the risk of a full-scale house fire.
After all, none of us want our belongings reduced to ash. Or worse still, to be caught in the fire ourselves.
So, I've gathered some tips you can use to prevent your precious home from being covered up in flames. It's a scary thought, I know, but it's definitely best to be prepared with at least a little knowledge about fire safety and to be aware of some of the typical domestic dangers.
Install smoke alarms
Smoke alarms work by sensing smoke particles in the air and will alert you and / or your family that it's time to take action or get to a safe place. Smoke alarms are really loud, definitely enough for everyone in your home to hear, even if the smoke is detected at night, when everyone's asleep.
Smoke alarms are also often installed along with sprinklers to potentially put out the fire. These systems use grooved pipe fittings to prevent any leakage and ensure optimal pressure for when the sprinklers are activated. Such peace of mind, right?
But it's not enough just to have these things installed, you need to remember to test each alarm in your home on a regular basis. In my home, we test them every three months and that flags whether or not there are any problems or if we need to get new batteries (although a lot of alarms will bleep intermittently to tell you they need their batteries replacing - clever!).
Plan your escape
Many homes don't have an escape route for fire emergencies, which can lead to fatalities. A sobering thought, but at least it might spur us into taking some safety precautions.
To ensure your family is safe, have a think about what your escape route might be to a safe place. Chat about it with everyone, just so they know what's expected of them in an emergency and can feel more prepared. Maybe even decide on a couple of safe spaces to meet should disaster strike. The most important thing is to get away from the fire and to call 999.
Did you know that 60% of house fires start in the kitchen? Judging by the way my husband navigates the kitchen at time, this does not surprise me!
If you think about it, there are many items in your kitchen that can cause fires, from the stove to the oven to the microwave. Leaving your kitchen unattended while cooking is a fire safety no-no. Always turn off the heat when you leave the kitchen and remember that golden rule: avoid placing metal dishware in your microwave! If I had a pound for every time my teenager rolls his eyes at this warning, I'd be a rich woman. But I'd rather he be a little frustrated at his bothersome mum than the alternative, which is pretty much unthinkable.
Use outlets and electric appliances safely
We can't deny that electrical appliances make our lives better and easier. However, they're also a definite risk when it comes to fire safety.
When electrical appliances overheat, they can spark and make flammable materials, such as curtains, blankets or cushions, catch fire. For fire safety, unplug your appliances when not in use and definitely keep those soft furnishings away from your outlets.
Another fire safety precaution is to prevent overstuffing your outlets. Avoid octopus wiring, where you plug multiple extension cords into one power outlet. Going back to my teen - this is a classic trick of his and I've had to sit him down and warn him about the very real risks. Doing so will cause your outlets to overheat which often leads to fires, so try to keep devices and plugs to a minimum where possible.
Keep matches and lighters away from kids
Metaphorically and physically, we all know not to play with fire.
At least, as adults we know this. But for kids, fire has to be one of the most intriguing things, yet still incredibly dangerous! We want them to know the dangers before they suss them out for themselves and get hurt. It helps to have a calm chat with your kids from a young age about this. My mam tells me that my first word was 'hot'! And that's because I kept going near our open fire (which was protected by a fire guard, thank goodness) and because I was so young just a one-word warning was enough to get me to back off.
It makes total sense to keep flammable materials away from children at all times. If they need to use them, make sure there's an adult around to keep them and your house safe.
Prevent fires for a safe community
Fires are a danger to you as well as your property. If we want to ensure fire safety, it's important that we start awareness at home. Exercise fire precautions at home that even children can do, and watch them tell their friends for a fire-safe community.
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