With bushfire season just around the corner, it’s important to check that your home is prepared. Even if you’re not in a bushfire-prone area, the risk of fires increases in hot, dry conditions. So, are you ready to handle a fire? Even the smallest kitchen fire can turn into a serious problem putting your home and family at risk. Especially in older homes or those with a lot of combustible materials, a home can be engulfed in a matter of minutes.
Here is a short list of all the items you should have on standby in your home in the event of a fire.
There are several types of fire extinguishers you can get for the home, and each serves a different purpose. Portable fire extinguishers can contain any of the following materials:
- Dry powder
- Wet chemical
Knowing which is best for your home is important. For example, a water-based fire extinguisher shouldn’t be used around electrical fires. Wet chemical extinguishers are best for hot fat an oil fires.
Whichever you choose, be sure to buy a size that you can easily handle, as they come in many different weights. Also, ensure you store it in a place that’s easily accessible, especially in the event of a fire. For example, many fires start on the stove, so keep it away from there.
A working smoke alarm
Smoke alarms are perhaps the best way to protect your family in the event of a fire. Often, a fire may start while you’re asleep or in another part of the home completely unaware. In these instances, the fire may already be too advanced for you to put it out and the best option is to leave the premises immediately. Your smoke alarm is the key alert system for such fires.
Always test your smoke alarm twice a year (daylight savings is a good reminder), and keep your family safe from potentially life-threatening fires.
Fire blankets can be purchased from any hardware store and should be kept in all parts of the home. Many people only have them in the kitchen, but this is problematic as many fires start there and there blanket may not be accessible. Fire blankets are used to assist those who have caught alight, and can prevent burns from worsening, even saving lives.
When installing insulation in your home, ensure you purchase fire rated insulation made from non-combustible materials. It’s something a lot of people forget, but with walls most commonly comprising of plaster and timber, the insulation in between serves as a further accelerant in a fire. Old, flammable insulation, that is. Newer products available today are fire-resistant, so if you get the chance to update your insulation, make the fire-safe choice.
Finally, always ensure you have a first aid kit in an easily accessible part of the house. While a first-aid kit can’t do much to stop a fire, it can certainly help if a member of your family suffers burns during a fire. If you leave your home during a fire and one of your family members has been burned, the condition can worsen quickly if left untreated. A first-aid kit is a valuable tool to keep people safe while waiting for professional medical help.
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