Being prepared can make all the difference when a fire strikes, so read our handy tips on being safe, aware and prepared at home.
Fire can have a massive impact upon people’s lives, it can destroy homes, ruin memories, and possibly result in the loss of lives. So in this Helping Hands video we’re giving you some invaluable tips to help your fire safety awareness. There are also some exclusive tips below that didn’t make it into the video but which are equally essential.
While quick and easy, checking the smoke alarm regularly is something we all forget to do but try to test your alarm twice a month to ensure it is always working. Pressing the middle button on your alarm can tell you if it is on and has battery power, but remember, this does not mean your smoke alarm is working perfectly. The best way to test whether you alarm is functioning properly is to use a can of smoke detector test aerosol and spray it towards your alarm for a brief period of time. If the alarm sounds then you can confirm that it is working, if not you need to have it fixed or replaced as soon as possible.
Think about it, a smoke alarm that is 10 years old has been running for just over 87,000 hours continuously, so it is likely to be very dirty, dusty or even faulty. If you suspect your alarm is over 10 years old, have it replaced immediately. You should also replace the batteries every year, unless the alarm starts to continuously beep, which means they need replacing immediately.
One tip that we get told regularly is to never go back for pets. However, with this next tip, you shouldn’t need to worry. By labelling where any pets you own sleep you can ensure that, were firemen to enter the house, they would know exactly where to look. You should also make sure your pet is never locked in a room as it could be hard to get to them in the event of a fire.
Safety is key
Most of us lock up the house at night before heading to bed, so ensure you have a spare key labelled and stored in a safe, easy to reach place. If a fire does occur, you may not have time to find your regular keys. By keeping a spare labelled and in close proximity of your front door, you can ensure that you are still able to get out.
If a fire strikes, you may not have time to ensure the safety of everyone in your house, so setting a meeting point and an escape plan means that everyone knows where to go and how to evacuate the house if needed. Make sure it is somewhere that everyone knows and can get to quickly and easily, you can then immediately see if anyone is missing and act accordingly.
Finally, if you use plug-in heaters, ensure there aren’t any fabrics close to them at any time, as they can become extremely hot and in many cases can easily result in any fabric touching them being set alight. The best way to ensure this doesn’t happen is by obeying what has become known as the ‘heater-metre’ rule. This simply means that you should aim to keep any heaters you use at least a metre away from anything, especially flammable objects.
So there we go, five invaluable tips to help you and your family be aware of how to prevent fires, how to detect them and what to do in the event of one. Remember, nothing can guarantee a fire safe home, but being vigilant, safe and well-prepared goes a long way and can be the difference between life and death.
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(Originally published on 02/12/2013)