House fires are preventable, Learn How - Home Fire Safety
Any type of property fire can be devastating for the owner or occupants. But some house fires can be particularly tragic.
A study from the Australasian Fire Authorities Council (AFAC) found that children age four and younger as well as people over age 65 can be most at risk for perishing in a house fire. The study also found that people affected by alcohol are at a high risk. Because of the risk, everyone should make home fire safety a priority for their household. While no one can completely prevent a fire, it is important to understand fire prevention and how to attack a fire or when to escape from a fire.
The following are some key home fire safety tips to help you and your family stay as safe as possible:
- Check smoke alarms – in the AFAC report most homes with fire related deaths did not have smoke alarms, and in those that did have smoke alarms 31% of them were not working properly. Make sure your home has smoke alarms that are fully functional and test them on a regularly scheduled basis
- Create a fire safety plan – make sure your entire family has reviewed the plan on how to escape a fire, where to meet after escaping, who to contact and when they should escape. Conduct fire safety drills several times a year to make sure everyone clearly understands the plan
- Get down low for smoke – if there is smoke in the house everyone should clearly understand to crawl on the ground or get as low as possible to avoid smoke inhalation. Even if there are no flames many people die because of breathing too much smoke into their lungs, depriving them of oxygen
- Learn the stop, drop and roll technique – as part of the fire safety drills remind your family how to perform this life saving technique. If you catch fire, stop (do not run) and drop to the ground. If a fire blanket is available use it to cover the person. Then roll on the ground, covering the face, until the flames are extinguished
- Care for burns and injuries – knowing basic first aid skills can save lives. Have a first aid kit available and use it to help with burns, clean scratches or scapes and bandage wounds
- Install a fire extinguisher – there are several types of home fire extinguishers available that can be used to quickly address a fire before it gets out of control. Some fire extinguishers are specifically designed for cook fires while others should be used for electrical fires. For home fire safety make sure you determine what extinguishers would be best for your home based on the types of risks on your property.
- Fire risk assessments – on a regular basis conduct a fire risk assessment of your property. Using a professional company to perform the assessment is best and would be the most comprehensive, but you can also do your own if necessary. The fire risk assessment will help you determine what areas of your home have the highest fire danger and what could cause the fire. This may include electrical areas, cooking areas, chemical or cleaner storage and other risks
- Fire blanket – a fire blanket is a relatively low cost lifesaving item for your home. You can also use a regular woollen blanket. In any case a fire blanket can be used to quickly extinguish a small surface area such as a stove, or it can be used to save someone who has caught fire on their clothing