How to Fireproof Your Home

How to Fireproof Your Home

Even in today’s modern age, fires are a potential threat to our family, pets and property. In order to reduce the chances of a fire hazard, the Fantastic Services team has put up this quick guide on how to fireproof your home and stay safe. It’s not a one-off thing you have to do, but you need to develop constant awareness and get used to all-year-round safety practices.

Table of Contents:

Invest in a Fireproof Design

If you have the time and money to make a structural redesign of your property, in order to make it fireproof, go for it! This will greatly reduce the fire threats in and around your house.

  • Create a fireproof border around the house. Use gravel or concrete to create a line around your house. Try to make it around 30 metres in width. This area will serve as a fireproof border around the property. If you have garden structures, such as sheds, do the same for them as well, especially if they’re made of wood.
  • Make your home accessible for fire trucks. Clear out anything that breaks the access to your house from your front and back yard. Make sure the surface of your driveway is able to withstand the weight of a fire truck. If there is no good access to your house, the firefighters will find it difficult to put down the fire.

Reduce Potential Fire Sources

Go around the rooms and outside of the house to make sure there are no sources of fire hazards. You should check areas that can potentially cause a fire:

  • Clean your roof and gutters. The roof and gutters often get clogged up with leaves and branches, which are highly flammable. And embers from a fire can travel kilometres in the right conditions. So, if your roof isn’t fireproof, you have a hazard. Make it a habit to clean the roof and gutters regularly.
  • Pay attention to any overhead power lines. Inspect the power lines above your house and see if there is any danger of a branch falling on top of them. Power companies usually trim the troublesome tree branches, but it won’t hurt to call them about any looming danger you notice, just in case.
  • Declutter. Plenty of UK households tend to hold onto various unnecessary items. And let’s admit it, the more cluttered your house is, the bigger the chances of something catching fire. So, go around your house and decide on what you can throw or give away if you no longer need it. You will generally feel safer if your house is roomier and free of clutter.
  • Store candles properly. Candles are dangerous, so you have to handle them with care. Keep them in a dark place away from any electrical utilities or fireplaces. Also, never keep lit candles near flammable materials, such as drapes.
  • Fix any tripping electrical devices. Plugs and electronics tend to trip if something is wrong with the wiring. If any of your electrical fittings and appliances make a funny noise, cause a spark upon touch or smell funny, don’t get used to this. Call an electrician to fix sockets and plugs. Call a handyman to fix appliances, or replace them altogether if don’t look safe anymore.

If a cable catches fire, never use water to extinguish it! Water is an electrical conductor and you will risk suffering an electrical shock. In such cases, always put out the fire with a dry powder or CO2 fire extinguisher.

Implement Safety Features

  • Install smoke alarms. Smoke alarms are your best friend against fire. Place one fire alarm in every bedroom, especially in the kitchen. They should be installed high on the wall or on the ceiling. If there is a fire, the smoke will rise up and the fire-safety device will detect it.
  • Check the smoke alarms regularly. Like any other electronic device, a smoke alarm should be checked on a regular basis to make sure it functions as it should. It’s best if you inspect your detectors at least twice a year. If they’re not working, they most likely need a change of battery.
  • Invest in a fire extinguisher. Every household needs an up-to-date fire extinguisher. If your house has two or more floor, you need one on each floor. Make sure everyone knows how to use it. Give them instruction reminders once a year, so they don’t forget.
  • Install a fire escape ladder. For multiple-storey houses, you have to ensure a safe way for people to get out of the premises in case the main exit is blocked. Fire ladders are the perfect solution in such situations. They’re made of fireproof material, such as aluminium. Make sure everyone knows how to use them safely.
  • Create a fire drill plan. Create a plan for you and your family of how to get out of the house in case of a fire. Before a fire ever happens, you should know the best ways to get out of your house. Most people, especially children, don’t like doing this on their days off, but it’s important to make them understand that doing this drill will save their life in case of an emergency.

Practise Safe Cooking

The most common fire hazards in the UK are related to negligence during cooking. In order to reduce the chances of creating an inferno in your kitchen, here is what you can do:

  • Prevent grease build-up. Grease and oils are highly flammable. To reduce the chance of a fire, regularly clean the inside of your oven.
  • Smother fires with a pan. A pan is often sufficient for extinguishing a small fire. Or it could at least contain the flames for a minute until you get the fire extinguisher.
  • Keep flammable items away. Towels, curtains, oven gloves and other flammable materials have no place near the stove.
  • Have a fire extinguisher nearby. A fire extinguisher is most needed in the kitchen, so make sure it’s close by and all members of your household know how to use it.

Create an Escape Drill Plan

A fire drill is a plan that every household should have so that people can vacate the property safely in case of a fire.

  • Have an escape plan for every room. It’s important for the members of the household to know how to leave every room in the house.
  • Use a fire escape ladder. If your house has more than one storey, make sure you have a fire escape ladder installed. Everyone should practise going down the ladder once or twice, so they can learn to be comfortable using it.
  • Establish an outside meeting place. Everyone should know where to meet outside. This will help ensure that no one has been left behind in the burning building and save valuable time if the emergency services need to look for and find a missing person back in the property.
  • Practise the drill twice a year. It’s important to practise the drill regularly, so no one forgets what to do, even if no one feels up for escaping an imaginary fire that day.

Never use water to extinguish a fire in the oven. The water will cause the boiling oil to splatter around and it might burn you.

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What to Do during a Fire

  • Don’t panic. Fear can make you forget everything you know about fire safety and act irrationally. If you’re unable to collect your thoughts, give yourself a few seconds to calm down. Then, raise the alarm as quickly as possible, so everyone is aware of the danger as soon as.
  • Rescue people, first. Attend to your family members, first. If the pet is close by, grab it. If not, don’t risk looking for it, as pets might hide during fires and will slow you down at a time when every second is valuable. Assist whoever needs help moving.
  • Take cover from the smoke. Smoke rises, so you go down on your knees where the air is less polluted. Put a cloth over your mouth as you move, so you don’t breathe it in and end up passing out. If you’re close to a sink, soak a towel and wrap it around your head, as the heat might make you dizzy.
  • Never take the lift. If you live in a building and there’s a lift, regardless of what storey you live on, never take the lift when there’s a fire, earthquake or any other emergency. If the lift stops due to a malfunction, you may end up trapped inside the building with no way out.
  • Test doorknobs. The heat produced in a fire will most probably heat up any metal item in the house and that includes the doorknobs. Opening inner doors would also increase the airflow in the room and cause the fire to spread. Refrain from opening doors, unless you really have to. Use a wet towel when touching the doorknob and make sure you get in and out of the room as fast as possible.
  • Once out, don’t go back in. Once your entire family is out of the house, stay out. No matter what valuables you’ve left behind if it’s inanimate, it’s not worth risking your life over it. Let the firefighters do the job, they’ve been trained for and are equipped to do best.

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As a homeowner, you owe it to your family to create a safe environment. With a few safety implementations, a well-practiced fire drill and comprehensive education, you can prevent a fire disaster. If you need help with installing fire-safety devices or fireproofing your home, you can always contact the Fantastic Services team.

Image Source: Dmitry Morgan/shutterstock.com

Posted in Security and Safety

Last update: February 7, 2019
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