Although an event that none of us ever wish to experience, a fire in our homes is something that we should all be prepared for. Having some essential fire safety equipment that will detect the presence of smoke or help delay a fire if does break out, can be lifesaving. In this article, we look at essential fire safety for every home.
- Smoke Alarms
Having a fully functioning smoke alarm in your home is one of the most effective fire safety measures. These little life savers have an in-built alarm, which will quickly alert you to the presence of smoke by emitting a loud signal, for those with hearing difficulties, alarms can be purchased that use strobe lights or vibrating pad alarms that are strong enough to wake even the heaviest sleeper.
A smoke alarm that is mains powered with battery backup would is the best type of alarm to opt for, but a battery powered smoke alarm (preferably with a 5 – 10-year battery life) will also be effective, just remember to change the batteries! You should ensure that the alarm you choose carries the British Standard Kitemark. It is advisable to carry out a regular test (the fire brigade recommend monthly tests) of your smoke alarms, to ensure that that they are working correctly. Follow the manufacturer guidelines to test the alarm. It is recommended that there should be an alarm on every floor of your home.
- Plan Your Escape
Deciding upon escape routes from your home in the event of a fire is extremely sensible and potentially lifesaving. Plan the best possible route to escape your property from all rooms in the home. Think of the alternative routes should the normal exits be blocked. Run through the plan with every member of the household on a regular basis so that everyone feels sure that they would know what to do. Ensure that keys can be reached to escape your property, and everyone knows where to gather outside.
- Fire Blankets
Having basic firefighting equipment in your home, such as a small fire extinguisher (make sure you know how to use the fire extinguisher and on what kind of fire it is safe to do so, if in doubt don’t use it as you may well exacerbate the situation) and a fire blanket can help fight a small fire. A fire blanket can be particularly useful if your home is heated by electrical fires rather than central heating. A fire blanket located in the kitchen can be an effective way to fight a fire that breaks out during cooking, as they are particularly effective against oil-based fires. Fire blankets can also be used as a protective aide when trying to escape, wrap the most vulnerable member of the household (the young, elderly or infirm) in the blanket and it will help to help the fire away from them. They can also be used to smother fire on a person’s clothes.
- Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Carbon monoxide is a gas produced by the burning of fossil fuels so having one is essential if you have gas fires and boilers and open fires too. The deadly danger lies in the fact that the gas is colourless, odourless, tasteless, and highly poisonous, undetectable to the human nose. A carbon monoxide detector or alarm is an essential device that sounds an alert if it detects the presence of carbon monoxide. As with fire alarms, follow the manufacturer guidelines to test the alarm on a regular basis. It is generally recommended that CO alarms should be installed on each level of the home and outside sleeping areas. Further information on what to do if your carbon monoxide alarm sounds can be found here from the NHS.
- Smoking and Naked Flames
If you smoke in or around your home or light candles to create a relaxing atmosphere, it is essential that you do not leave either of them unattended. Always remember to extinguish all cigarettes and douse all candles before going to bed. Candles should not be lit and left near any flammable materials. Children and pets should always be supervised near candles – over enthusiastic play can easily knock a candle over and start a fire. Only light candles in the room that you are in so you can keep control of what is happening around the open flame.
We hope you have found our fire safety article useful. If you have any concerns about the fire safety in your home seek the advice of your local fire brigade, they will be more than happy to help.