Fire Safety in the Home
Have A Plan And Be Prepared
A fire in your home is quite possibly one of the worst imaginable scenarios to find yourself or your family in. However, it is vital that everyone in the house is aware of what to do if a fire should break out in your home, so just like The Scouts would say... be prepared and have your safety plan put in place.
Below we take a quick look at the most important things to remember when planning your fire escape plan, and the do's and don'ts when it comes to fire.
Every year, it is estimated that 46 people in Ireland die as a result of house fire, and over 1000 suffer burns or smoke inhalation. In many cases these injuries, deaths and fires could have been prevented by increased education and awareness of fire in the home.
There are a few simple rules you can follow in order to keep you and your family safe from a devastating fire in the home:
- Have working smoke alarms in every room except the bathroom and garage. Test the alarm regularly by pushing the test button, and never let a battery go dead in them, change them regularly. At a minimum, your home insurance may require that you have smoke alarms installed.
- Ensure all naked flames, and candles are fully extinguished before you go to bed or leave the house.
- Never leave children unattended near open fires or naked flames.
- Use a fireguard.
- Take care with pets in the home and fire. They don't always have as much sense as humans when it comes to fire.
- Empty ashtrays before your go to bed or leave the house. Don't put hot or warm ashes straight into a bin bag as this is a fire risk as well.
- Keep an approved fire blanket and/or fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Chip pan fires are a common source of fire in the home.
It may seem obvious or unnecessary but some easy steps are easily implemented and can become part of your daily routine when you go to bed or leave the house.
Close all doors in the house when you go to bed. If a fire was to break out in the kitchen and you didn't have the door closed fully, the fire would spread much faster through your home than if it was.
Turn off all electrical items at the plug and remove the plug from the wall at night time. Faulty electrical items or sockets can easily spark a fire which can rip through your house in no time at all. Never leave hot items like hair straighteners turned on, and leave them to cool on a heatproof surface.
At all costs, do not cook food in the kitchen when you are drunk or exhausted. Many accidents and house fires are caused by people attempting to cook chips when they get home from a night in the pub, then falling asleep, only to be woken up by the smell of burning and the fire brigade pulling them out of the house.
Every household should have an evacuation plan. Whereas this may sound like a depressing thought, it is essential that everyone in your house is aware of the plan and it is practiced regularly.
To execute an evacuation plan, you must first identify a suitable escape route from an upstairs and downstairs window or door. If you have an upstairs window which opens fully onto a flat roof where you can safely get down to the ground floor level, use this as an escape route, but only if its safe to exit out this way. Make sure you have a secondary route planned in case your primary escape route is at the location of the fire.
It is important to keep all fire escape routes clear both day and night. Also ensure that keys to windows and doors are kept near to hand or as close to the relevent exit as possible and that all members of your household are aware of their location. As home security is important too be careful not to place keys anywhere a burgular could cunningly retrive them.
We recommend that you carry out a routine safety check once every 6 months to ensure that your escape route, and potential hazards are eliminated. Never assume that something will be fine when it comes to dealing with fire. The slightest oversight can lead to devastating consequences and it is best to get into the habit of checking everything and turning things off.
Being extra vigilant and checking all potential hazards is a good habit to get into, as you can never be too cautious when it comes to fire safety.