We are all familiar with the term “Safe as Houses” but the stark reality is that many of our houses are not so safe. On average 46 people**  in Ireland die each year from fire and thousands more are injured, the majority in domestic dwellings.

When it come’s to fire safety, be it at home or at work, there are three golden principals:

  1. Prevention
  2. Detection
  3. Evacuation

In this article, we aim to provide you with a few simple practices and positive behaviours  that could save your life or that of your loved ones one day.

PREVENTION

Prevention is the best fire fighter! Encourage safe habits amongst ALL family members. Here’s just a few…

  • Switch Off/unplug all electrical items at night. This also applies to mobile phones, tablets etc.
  • Never place aerosols such as deoderants or hairsprays etc on or near heat sources such as radiators or heaters.
  • Install a fire extinguisher and fire blanket in/or close to the kitchen area and most importantly know how to use them!

TIP: Fire Blankets may also be used to wrap around a person in the event that clothing catches fire.

  • We all know that chimney fires are one of the primary causes of domestic fires in Ireland. Have your chimney cleaned at least once a year!  It doesn’t cost the earth, with some providers charging as little as €25 for this service.
  • Get into the habit of doing a “fire safety check” before you go to bed

DETECTION

Smoke will not wake you up – FACT! It will actually put you in a deeper sleep. It is recommended that you fit at least one smoke alarm in  flats or apartments and at least two smoke detectors in an average house. For maximum protection it is recommended you fit one in every room, hallway and landing (except kitchens, bathrooms and garages) as conditions in these rooms will invariably lead to false alarms.

Whilst smoke alarms provide early warning, they can only be effective if kept in good working order. Remember to:

  • Change your batteries twice yearly (or immediately if you hear the warning bleep). Why not co–incide the changing of your batteries with the changing of the clocks from summertime to wintertime and visa versa? This way you can be sure you won’t forget!
  • Test your smoke alarm on a regular basis

EVACUATION

Knowing what to do when the smoke alarm sounds is just as important. Evacuation/Escape plans are not just for the workplace. Prepare an escape plan, discuss it and practice it with all family members.  Here’s a few pointers….

  • Plan at least two escape routes. The normal way out is the preferred choice but be prepared if this is blocked. If you live in a dormer or two storey house, consider buying an escape ladder. Keep this in an easily accessible location on the upper level
  • Keep your escape routes clear and remember to close all doors onto them before you go to bed so as to reduce to spread of smoke and fire
  • In the event of fire, check doors before you open them with the back of your hand. If it is hot to the touch, then it is likely this route is blocked by fire
  • If a room fills with smoke, crawl along the ground as the air is freshest here
  • Make sure all family members know how to call the Fire Brigade (112)
  • Remember, Get Out and Stay Out

If you would like to read more information on fire safety at home,  please click here.

To browse our home protection product range please click here.

 

** Source – Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government

 

About the author