10 Ways to help prevent fire in your home or workplace
August 27, 2020
The devastation caused by fire either in the home or at a workplace can be catastrophic. Not only to risk to life, but financially too. 4000 Americans die in house fires each year, and over 2000 are severely injured. In the UK, the numbers are obviously less, as is the population, but over 200 people still die. The majority of these deaths are between the hours of 10pm and 6am when people are asleep.
The seasons often have a part to play in the incidence of domestic and commercial fires. Winter months see an increase in fires, as we rely on fuel burning appliances to heat our homes and workplaces. This results in an increase in chimney and flue fires.
Some of these statistics could be reduced with the aid of professionally fitted fire alarms, which can detect heat and smoke and can also have connections to sprinklers. Flames spread rapidly, so early detection is vital if people, buildings, and contents are to be saved.
In readiness for National Fire Prevention week in October (October 4th-10th), we have identified 10 ways in which you could help prevent fire in your home or workplace.
- Maintain your heating equipment. Many fires are caused through faulty or unmaintained heating sources, eg boilers, fireplaces etc. Hire professionals to service them, at least once a year. Soot can build up in chimneys; make sure they are swept regularly.
- Test your smoke detectors regularly; once a month will make sure they are working as they should. They won’t stop the breakout of fire, but the alarm that alerts you could give you precious time to contain it or evacuate safely. If you are asleep, the alarm will wake you before any smoke does.
- Never leave naked flames unattended. Candles and discarded cigarettes make up a large proportion of the causes of fire. Blow out candles before leaving the room, and ensure cigarettes are distinguished properly. Lit candles should be placed well away from flammable materials such as bedding, curtains, and clothing.
- When cooking, keep flammable materials away from heat sources. Tea towels and curtains can catch fire and spread in an instant if left near to gas burners or stoves. Ensure that nothing flammable is near to your cooking equipment.
- Store matches and lighters safely. Children are curious by nature; make sure that matches are stored out of their reach. Other flammable liquids like lighter fuel and lighters should be kept away from heat sources.
- Screen your open fire. Fireplaces can have a tendency to spit, and the fuel to move as it burns down. Sparks and rolling coal and logs can set carpets alight in seconds. Always use a fire guard or screen; this will ensure your fire stays where it is supposed to as well as protecting younger children from the flames.
- Check your electrical appliances are off at night-time. Before you go to bed at night, check your kitchen to make sure everything is turned off.
- Keep potential fuel sources away from fireplaces, space heaters or stoves. A minimum of three feet is recommended for safety. Furniture, clothing, paper, and bedding is at risk of combustion if placed any closer.
- Do not let grease in your kitchen or staff room/canteen build up. Clean surfaces regularly.
- Do not forget your garden. Sheds, garages, and outbuildings store many flammable items. Fertilisers can combust if stored near to heat or naked flames. Keep other flammables like paint and decorating supplies, and gasoline in their original containers and store them in a cool, dry location.
If you need further help on fire prevention there is help and guidance available from your local fire safety company and also online.