Fire safety in the home

2015-05-20 06:00

ACCIDENTAL fires are just that - an accident. There are however, a number of ways to prevent a fire starting accidentally in your home or business. It starts with having the knowledge of possible causes of fires, and being aware of seemingly harmless objects in your home or business that could ignite and lead to a fire.

It is not to say that every aspect of the home and/or business is a potential fire hazard, but it is advised to maintain a high index of suspicion when it comes to any form of electrical appliance, gas and open heat source being used.

The most probable sources of a potential fire inside the home could come from any of the following, but is not limited to these few:

frayed electrical wires on appliances

burning candles

heaters and electric blankets

cigarette, cigar, tobacco pipe embers

fire places

gas leaks followed by a spark igniting

children playing with matches

burning oil on a stove

Most of these though would need to be accelerated by another source, for example a roll of toilet tissue near a heater grill may ignite and start a fire. It is therefore very important to keep the area around any of these potential fire hazards mentioned above clear. Don’t leave any heater/heated appliance or open flame burning while you leave the room.

Synthetic materials are widely used in household furniture. This material is highly flammable and will burn quickly once set alight. Keep open flames or embers away from foam mattresses, stuffed couches, curtains and carpets.

These usually also cover a wide surface area and will be the cause of other maybe less flammable objects to catch alight.

Do’s and don’ts of preventing fire at home

Do buy a small fire extinguisher from a reputable dealer to keep in your home - note the correct way to use it

Do familiarise yourself with emergency numbers in the event of a fire and medical emergency

Do take note of warnings on selected appliances - do not cover heaters

Do check electrical cables regularly for damage

Don’t leave the room where a candle is burning, heater is on, fire in the fire place is still burning fiercely, oil is on heat atop the stove, etc.

Don’t pack personal belongings before leaving the house in the event of a fire

Don’t try and put an oil fire in the kitchen out with water

Don’t open a closed door of a room suspected to be on fire.

Don’t enter a room that is on fire

Don’t re-enter the home once you have exited away from the fire

Do stay low to the ground when exiting a smoke filled room.

Do cover your nose and mouth with a (moist) cloth. This also minimises the inhalation of smoke by breathing through a barrier.

Do exit the burning building as soon and as safely as possible.

Do extinguish cigarettes, cigars and pipe tobacco in the appropriate manor

Unfortunately, having a smoke detector and alarm in each room of the house is not common in South Africa but it should be encouraged. These somewhat simple devices are inexpensive and are easy to install. - Arrive Alive.

SYNTHETIC MATERIALS ARE WIDELY USED IN HOUSEHOLD

FURNITURE. THIS

MATERIAL IS HIGHLY FLAMMABLE AND WILL BURN QUICKLY ONCE SET ALIGHT

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