It only takes a little to set up your home for safety. When fire is involved, you've got to be on your toes to extinguish the party before it gets out of control! Check out our safety precautions for a fire-proof home that's safe for you and your family.
Having a fire extinguisher within easy reach inside your home is one of the best precautions to take against a full-fledged fire that can harm you and your family. However, these things aren't made to last forever, so it might be a good idea to get your extinguisher checked once in awhile, and keep tab of how long a shelf life it still has. Remember, just because there isn't an expiration date, doesn't mean it will last forever. Normally, extinguishers work somewhere between 5 and 15 years, and by checking the pressure gauge, one can determine if their can of safety is still in good working condition. Check the pin on your extinguisher, if it rests on the green portion of your pressure gauge, you're good to go. If it's anywhere else, then it's time to shop for a new one, soon!
Perfect for large houses or residential and commercial buildings, smoke detectors will help spot a fire before its grown out of control. Usually placed in high traffic areas, these little machines pick up the presence of smoke which then triggers a fire alarm-- either in the form of an emergency bell that signals occupants to evacuate, or coupled with a sprinkler system to begin extinguishing the fire. if you reside in a condominium or apartment building, smoke detectors are standard in every hallway, public access area, and within your own residential unit. Having these checked regularly by a maintenance crew will keep it in top condition for years-- let's just hope it never has to be used!
Sprinklers work by keeping a network of piping in the walls and ceilings constantly filled with water under pressure. When a fire does break out, a little plastic or wooden splinter melts within the sprinkler dispatch, allowing the water in the pipes to be released with very strong force. Newer sprinkler systems are hooked up to smoke detectors with temperature sensors-- even if a fire has not broken out in a particular area, all the sprinklers will go off once a certain temperature has been attained. This complicated system must be checked once every few months to ensure that the piping for the sprinklers is in good condition, and that no debris has accumulated in the sprinkler itself.
4. Fire Blanket
Fire blankets are used for containing small fires that have broken out, or to protect a person from being injured by flames. Made out of fire retardant material, these are perfect for keeping around the house, most especially in the kitchen where the largest amount of arson-caused accidents occur. One simple spill on the stove can cause a tiny spark to grow into flames, but having a fire blanket around can put out the heat in seconds.
The Common Culprits:
1. Gas Leaks
Although living in a tropical country doesn't require a household to have central heating, gas leaks are common in homes that utilize a gas-powered stove or other such appliances. Always keep an eye on the gas tank's pressure gauge to monitor leaks and other faulty tubes that might spark a flame! During vacations or long periods of time spent away from home, turn off the gas tank and disconnect it from your oven for safety's sake.
2. Electrical Hazards
A circuit breaker is the motherload of electricity flowing into your house. Be aware of all the connections that go through it: normally each section of a home is divided in the panel to conveniently switch on or off an electrical current when necessary. Before switching a circuit breaker on or off, make sure all appliances are disconnected properly to prevent overheating. Large appliances and electrical devices like washing machines, dryers, refrigerators and airconditioners receive a masive surge of energy when switched on, and might get affected when proper precautions aren't observed. During brownouts, it's a good idea to disconnect appliances as well, and reconnect them only when power has returned. It's safe to leave necessities like lights or fans on, but bigger things like aircon compressors might be under too much strain once the power comes back on! Always switch this little panel off when leaving the home for prolonged periods of time, most especially to prevent any mishaps while you're away!
We've heard of countless stories about homes that have perished due to faulty Christmas decorations. Entire houses were burned down because of a simple string of lights that were merely meant to bring some cheer for the season. When decorating your home for the holidays, always purchase quality bulbs that can last in outdoor weather. Also, don't leave these twinkling strands on too long on your tree, because a single spark can set your living room in flames! Before setting up, check old strings for broken wires, and make sure each bulb is neither cracked nor exposed. Preventing electrocution is just as important as warding off a fire!
Although candles and incense are a lovely way to warm up your home, leaving these decors unattended is the last thing you want to do. Candles should never be handed to children to keep in their rooms, and likewise, they should only be kept burning in the presence of adults who can handle them properly. Never place them near combustible materials like curtains, paper, and most especially near lighters and matches.
5. Flammable substances
Flammable liquids and solids are found everywhere: in aerosol paint cans, hair sprays, bug sprays, and even in left over alcoholic beverages. Be wary of where these items are placed, and of who in your household has access to them. One simple accident by a child can cause a lifetime of regret! Keep these harmful substances out of reach, because toxic smoke is a definite killer. The red warning label isn't just for fun, the color means serious business.