Who is responsible for your safety ? – We All Are!!!
It is everyone’s responsibility to protect themselves and anyone in their care from danger of fire in their home. Every year over 60,000 fires in the home kill 500 people and injure another 10,000. According to statistics the most common causes fire in the home are faulty electrics, unattended chip pans and carelessness while smoking especially late at night and possibly after a few drinks. However fire can start at any time and in many different ways.
Here are some useful tips
Fire is a chemical reaction caused when:
• Heat • Fuel • Oxygen
come together in sufficient quantities. The absence of any one of these three elements will prevent a fire starting. Prevention depends on avoiding these three coming together. Fire extinguishing depends on removing one of the elements from an existing fire.
For a fire to start, three things are needed:
A source of ignition;
If any one of these is missing, a fire cannot start. Taking steps to avoid the three coming together will therefore reduce the chances of a fire occurring.
The best way to remove HEAT from a fire is to use water if it is suitable for the type of fire, never ever use it on flammable liquids or chip pan fires as it will create a violent reaction and only spread the fire. Remove the Heat and you put out the fire. Indications of ‘near misses’, such as scorch marks on furniture or fittings, discoloured or charred electrical plugs and sockets, cigarette burns etc, can help you identify hazards which you may not otherwise notice.
A good way of removing the FUEL available to a fire is to turn off gas if safe to do so and remove flammable materials from sources of ignition. Anything that burns is fuel for a fire. So you need to look for the things that will burn reasonably easily and are in sufficient quantity to provide fuel for a fire or cause it to spread to another fuel source
The best way to remove OXYGEN from a fire is:
Keep the fire doors shut.
Keep the windows shut.
Use a foam or carbon monoxide fire extinguisher.
Use a fire blanket on chip pan fires.
Using a Fire Blanket.
- Pull down the tapes.
- Fully open the blanket ensuring your hands are protected.
- Place the blanket over the flames.
- Locate and turn off the fuel supply
- Only use thermostatically controlled chip pans
- Never fill the pan more than one-third full of good quality fat or oil.
- Never leave the pan unattended when switched on.
- If the pan does catch fire do not move it and never attempt to extinguish it with water.
- If the oil starts to give off smoke before you put any food in do not use. Turn off the heat and leave the oil to cool, otherwise it could catch fire.
- If it does catch on fire, if it is safe to do so turn off the heat, but never lean over the pan to do so
- Get Out, Get the Fire Brigade out, Stay Out.
An unattended lit cigarette or pipe can be fatal. Never leave a lit cigarette or pipe unattended. If you have leave a cigarette or pipe lit on the rim of an ashtray, it can fall, this will usually be onto a flammable surface which will catch fire. Never smoke in bed or in a chair if you feel tired as you may doze off especially if you have just had a few drinks.
Electricity is often overlooked as a possible fire hazard. Maybe this is because there is no flame, However many fires in the home are reported each year as being caused by electrical faults, accidents or by misuse of electrical equipment.
Look out for warning signs of dangerous wiring:
- Hot plugs and sockets
- Fuses that blow for no obvious reason
- Lights flickering.
- Brown scorch marks on sockets and plugs
- Creased electric blankets
- Frayed or cracked flex leads
- Extension leads used while rolled up
You should ask a qualified electrician to check out your wiring if you see any of the above danger signs. Regular checks of the wiring in your home should help prevent these danger signs occurring. It is good practice and a requirement of current wiring regulations that your fuse boards are fitted with a Residual Current Circuit Breaker (RCCB) so if a fault develops on your system it should cut off the electrical circuits.
Always put a spark fireguard in front of an open fire and if you have young children at home, make sure you use an all-enclosed guard safely attached to wall hooks as well. You should never dry clothes or any other flammable items on top or near the fire guard
In buildings, most deaths from fire are due to the inhalation of smoke. Also, where smoke is present, people are often unwilling to travel more than a few metres through it to make their escape. It is therefore important to make sure that, in the event of a fire in one part, people in other parts of the building can use escape routes to get out safely without being exposed to the smoke or gases from the fire. If you see smoke coming from behind a closed door never open it.
Before opening any door,in a fire situation, test the doors temperature by using the back of your hand. If a fire is on the other side, by opening the door your life will be at risk.
- If you are trapped in a smoke filled room try to keep as low as possible and crawl out.
Because most fires in the home happen at night it is important that you establish a nighttime safety routine before you go to bed. It only takes a few minutes but could save your life and the lives of your loved ones.
Here is a few is a few simple things to do before retiring for the night
- Unplug all electric appliances not designed to stay on.
- Make sure no cigarette, cigars or pipes are still burning.
- Before emptying ashtrays make sure the contents are cold.
- Put a guard around open fires.
- Switch off all portable heaters
And finally always have an emergency escape plan prepared and practice it with all the family, YOUR life may depend on it