Fire Safety Tips You Need to Know
We constantly hear on the news about homes destroyed by fire. We think, “oh, how horrible for those poor people!” But how many of us assume “it’ll never happen to me”? You know – those people left devastated by the latest house fire, probably assumed the same thing.
The sad fact is; more than 50 people die in house fires Australia-wide each year. Many more escape, but lose everything they own. Another sad fact: most house fires are preventable. Take these fire safety tips on board today, to prevent the worst happening in your home.
Fire Safety vs Home Safety
Of course you want to keep your home secure from intruders, but you also need to be able to get out quickly if a fire takes hold. Finding the key to a deadlock could waste precious seconds when you’re trying to escape. There are ways you can be both secure and fire-safe:
- Install locks that can be opened from the inside without keys.
- If you must have a key, keep it near the lock – just far enough away to be out of reach of intruders.
- Limit the number of keys needed to open the door.
- Install keyless security grills, or if they need keys, ensure they’re kept nearby.
- Ensure any grills or security bars open outwards easily from the inside.
Fire Safety Dos and Don’ts
- Clean the lint filter on your clothes dryer after every load. Always ensure the dryer completes its cool-down.
- Store matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
- Keep a fire blanket and a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, and make sure you know how to use them. These are HOME ESSENTIALS.
- Make an evacuation plan and practice it regularly.
- Ensure all your electrical appliances are in good working order. If in doubt – chuck it out!
- Ensure cigarette butts are fully extinguished.
- Treat electric blankets with care. Folding them or putting heavy things on them can damage their wiring. Use them to warm the bed, then switch them off before getting in.
- Store pool chemicals away from fuel, oil, brake fluid and similar hazardous items in the shed or garage.
- If buying a portable heater, choose one with an automatic safety switch to turn the heater off if it gets tipped over.
- Install smoke alarms and test them regularly. Photoelectric alarms are recommended because they detect most types of fire early, and are less likely to set off nuisance false alarms.
- Smoke in bed.
- Overload power boards.
- Leave cooking, candles or open fires unattended. If you must leave the kitchen while cooking, turn off the hotplates or take something with you to remind you of cooking, such as a wooden spoon or tea towel.
- Dry clothes in front of a heater.
- Run power cords under carpet or rugs: localised overheating can cause a short-circuit and a fire.
- Put water on an oil fire in the kitchen – it only spreads the flames. Smother the fire with the saucepan lid or a fire blanket and turn off the heat, don’t move the pan til it’s cooled.
You can always visit your local fire station for advice – firefighters are also happy to inspect your home for hazards.
Thanks to Queensland Fire and Emergency Services for valuable safety tips in this article.