No one wants to have to deal with a fire in their home – it’s a terrifying thing to think about it, and even worse to deal with if it does happen.
There are plenty of ways that you can keep your family, and your home safe from fire, and while nothing is ever 100% guaranteed, our 10 tips for keeping your family safe, will go a long way to ease your mind.
- Install smoke alarms in your home and check them regularly
Smoke alarms save lives – this has been proven over and over again. But those smoke alarms need to be working to do their job. While newer smoke alarms have a long lifespan, they do still need to be checked and maintained.
If you have recently had smoke alarms installed, every month you should be pressing the “test” button to ensure that they are still working as they should be. You should also ensure that you are maintaining them regularly, which means keeping the area around them free from dust and debris.
If you haven’t changed the battery on your smoke alarms recently, or they are old (or you’ve simply taken them off the roof) – now is the time to change that. Have new interconnected smoke alarms installed in every bedroom in the house, plus the main living areas to ensure your family stays safe wherever they are in the home.
- Teach your children about fire safety and what to do if there is a fire
You can teach your children about fire safety from a young age. In order to reduce the risks associated with fire safety for children, you should teach them about what to do if they see a fire or smell smoke. You should also make sure that they know not to touch any electrical wires or outlets and always keep matches and lighters out of reach.
One important factor is showing your children what firefighters look like in their full gear. Children will often get their images from books and television, and while this is a good base learning, seeing a firefighter in their full protective gear can scare children more at a time when they are already quite scared.
- Keep flammable materials like gasoline and propane stored safely away from your home
There may be some instances where you need to keep fuel and other chemicals stored at home – work purposes, or perhaps you live on a rural property. You should take care to store these safely away from the house, whether that be in a storage container or a shed on your property.
Keep these flammable materials out of reach from little hands, and make sure to follow all safety instructions – even if you’ve been using these materials for years.
- Have an escape plan in case of a fire and practise it regularly
An escape plan is essential in case of a fire and the whole family should have an understanding of what they need to do and where they need to go should there be a fire in the home. On top of your escape plan, family members should be aware of where your “grab and go” bag is – this file should contain all important documents, first aid, spare clothing etc. However, this should only be taken if it is safe to do so – getting everyone out of the home is the first priority.
Ensure you practise your escape plan regularly, and modify it for every home you move into.
- Make sure all family members know how to use a fire extinguisher
A fire extinguisher or fire blanket is an essential component of any home, and all adult members of the family should know how to use it (capable older children should also be taught how to use an extinguisher or fire blanket).
These items can help to stop a fire before it spreads even further.
In saying this – also ensure that your family knows how to put out various fires, and don’t for example, use water to put out an oil fire, or throw a tea towel on a hot cooktop element.
- Check the wiring in your home for any potential hazards
If you have moved into an older home, you should have the wiring in your home checked for potential hazards including incorrect wiring, or wiring that has been chewed through by rodents and other pests. It is also essential to ensure that all the required safety and trip switches are in place.
Even if you live in a relatively new home, you should ensure that wiring is in good order regularly, and if something seems off, isn’t working or looks like it has suffered damage (black marks on your powerpoints for example), it is a good idea to have these checked.
- Avoid using kitchen appliances while you’re sleeping or have left the house
We know that it can be tempting to leave the oven on low while you have a little nap or just duck out to pick the kids up from school, but anything can happen. Any electrical item that can catch fire or cause a fire – oven, cooktop, washing machine, dryer etc – should all be turned off while you are out of the house or asleep.
- Don’t overload electrical outlets or use faulty cords and plugs
Overloaded electrical outlets and using faulty cords and plugs are one of the more common ways that fire occurs. You should minimise the number of power cords plugged into electrical outlets, utilise powerboards with surge protectors, and stop the use of cords and plugs that have exposed wires or are damaged. If you don’t have enough power points in a room, an electrician can generally install more quite easily.
- Keep candles away from flammable objects like curtains and furniture, and never leave them burning unattended
Candles are one of the biggest concerns when it comes to house fires, and they cause a lot of them. You should never place your candles near flammable objects like curtains, clothing or furniture, and if you leave the house, or go to bed, you should make sure they are fully extinguished.
If you like the smell of candles in the home – an oil diffuser on a timer may be a better option.
- Have a working carbon monoxide detector installed in your home
Photoelectric fire alarms are essential in the home, and a working carbon monoxide detector should be as well, particularly if you have gas appliances. You can feel the effects of carbon monoxide before you smell it, and a carbon monoxide detector will pick up leaks long before you will. Similar to smoke alarms, you should install one in every bedroom and in living rooms.
Do you need to install new smoke alarms? Take a look at our range of photoelectric smoke alarms and protect your family today.