Most people assume that house fires won’t happen to them. However, the sad fact is that house fires kill more people than all the natural hazards in the country. Anyone can be the victim of a house fire, being prepared and adopting the following safety tips will help to reduce your risk, keeping you and your family safe.
Faulty electrics are one of the biggest causes of house fires. Your electrics can become dangerous for a number of reasons, ranging from old age to pest problems. The result is the outer protective sheath deteriorates and leaves the wires exposed. These can touch each other and create a spark that ignites combustible material nearby.
They can also generate heat which can start a fire.
Alongside this, older wiring installations may have connections that are becoming loose. This can also happen when sockets and switches are damaged. The result is short circuits, risks of electrical shocks, and an increased risk of fire.
Having an annual electrical inspection will ensure any issues are spotted and you can have them addressed, keeping your home and family safe.
It is worth noting that regular electrical inspections can also pick up any sign of electrical leakage. This is when electricity is being wasted, the inspection can actually save you money!
If you speak to any reputable fire safety equipment suppliers the first thing they will check is whether you have smoke alarms fitted. You should have at least one on every level and it is recommended you have one in every bedroom of the house.
Some alarms detect the fire early as they are set off by the rising smoke not the heat of the flames. This increases the warning time you have to get out of the house safely. You should test the smoke alarms regularly, at least once a month. In addition, if the alarm goes off you should assume it is a fire and get everyone out of the house before verifying the fire and calling for help.
Smoke alarms can be standalone units that are battery powered, regular testing ensures you replace the batteries as needed. Alternatively, they can be mains powered. In this instance, it is even possible to add them to your home alarm system. This means if a fire is detected the emergency services are automatically notified.
Every circuit in the house is designed to handle eight power outlets. However, it is easy to add extension cables and multiple outlets, quickly increasing the number of devices that are plugged in.
This can cause the circuit to be overloaded. While the circuit breaker should cut power, it may not be working properly or could be incorrectly rated. If the power isn’t cut to the circuit the overloading will cause the wires to heat up, ultimately causing a fire to start when the heat has built up enough.
You should also be wary about using extension cables. They are a useful way of getting power where you need it. But, an extension cable must be fully uncoiled when in use. If not, it will allow heat to build up in the coiled section and quickly cause a fire to start. All you need is combustible items nearby and the fire will rapidly spread.
Never Leave Appliances Unattended
Everyone has done it, left a pan on the stove for two seconds while they answer the door or put the washing on. Perhaps left a portable fire unattended while they do something. These seemingly harmless actions can have fatal consequences.
It only takes a moment for a pan to boil over or a fire to ignite the curtains just in front of it. This type of fire will quickly spread, causing huge issues for anyone trapped in the house.
When leaving cooking or a fire, turn them off. It doesn’t matter if it is just for a second. This is all the time it takes and a second invariably becomes several minutes, allowing the problem to multiply and cause a serious fire.
Create An Escape Plan
Potentially the most important thing you can do for the sake of your family is to create an escape plan. This means looking at every room in your house and devising two different escape routes. This gives an occupant two options which is useful if the fire is blocking one of the paths.
Once you have devised the route you need to follow it. This ensures it is a viable option. You can then do a test fire to see how quickly everyone responds and gets out of the house. Don’t forget, the average amount of time you have to get out is just two minutes.
You should repeat the test regularly to ensure everyone knows instinctively what to do in a fire. Every time you test the plan you can also check that it remains the best escape option for each room.
There are probably plenty of smart devices in your home, ranging from your smart television to Alexia, and perhaps a camera system. This smart network can be used to monitor your home and alert you to anything that is unusual.
Simply connect sensors to the system and they will alert you if a fire or some other incident is detected. You can then access your cameras remotely to check the issue. This allows you to get help there even if you are not home. More importantly, it can be a great way of warning family members early and helping to save their lives.
There are times when, despite following all the safety tips, an accident happens and the fire starts in your home. But, these cases are rare, especially if you adopt sensible fire precautions at home. Simply utilize the above tips and walk around your home to think of anything else. Practice regularly and you will always be ready if the worst happens, even though you will be hoping it doesn’t.