5 Fire Safety Tips for the Home

| May 27, 2015 | 0 Comments

Too often on the news I hear stories of people losing their homes from fire, kiddies being rescued from burning buildings by every day heroes… there are always the snippets from witnesses who describe how fast the house went up in flames, how nothing could be done…

Then there are the fire service ads. You know the ones where there is a stop watch showing a true timeline of a fire starting, then a couple of ads/minutes later another one comes on and the house is exploding to the screams of the occupants.

fire safety

My boys are always mesmerised by these ads, as well as the one (in NZ) where the Dad is putting up smoke alarms and talking to his daughter with the burn scars on her face. They sit transfixed. I wonder what is going through their brains. Do they understand? Occasionally we have conversations about it, I think they get the message but I don’t think they apply it to their own lives.

I am trying to drill it into them that fire safety is something we really need to take seriously.

Here are 5 fire safety tips that we use in our home:

1. We Have Fire Drills

With 8 smoke alarms in our 4 bed, 2 storey home it is not uncommon for them to go off, usually when I am cooking [No jokes!], or because the batteries are nearing the end of their lives. I always use this as an opportunity for a fire drill. The kids and I get down on hands and knees and make for the nearest exit. If I am cooking I make sure I turn everything off first, a couple of minutes of interrupted cooking won’t ruin dinner, and I want the kids to not question what that alarm means.

Check out this Get Out Stay Out game for kids on the NZ Fire Service website.

2. We Got a Fire Extinguisher and/or Fire Blanket for the Kitchen

I have never needed to use an extinguisher or a fire blanket, but I figure I’d rather have them on hand and never have to use them than not have them in an emergency.

Did you know that 25% of all house fires start in the kitchen? Last week after using the cast iron fry pan when cooking dinner my husband absentmindedly added water to the hot oil that was in the pan and things almost got out of control. It was a bit of an “oh shit, that was lucky’ moment, that was re-enforced when we watched the episode on house fires on Nigel Latta Blows Stuff Up, and exactly how lucky we were!

I think everyone is taught at a young age not to put water on hot oil right?! My husband certainly was, but we are only human.

3. We Are Mindful of Phone & Other Chargers

I don’t know about you but in our family we always have some device or phone charging. It’s a sign of the times I guess, but did you know that chargers can be fire starters? Especially replacement generic brand chargers that are bought online for a fraction of the cost. Different devices require different levels of charge and generic chargers run the risk of putting too much energy into a device, causing the battery to overheat, and … eek fire!

Where do you charge your device? On the floor next to your bed? On the kitchen bench? I always actively try not to leave things charging overnight AND also not to leave a charger on when not connected to a device.

Also make sure your device is clear from other hazards and can’t accidentally be covered up.

4. We Turn Off The TV

With today’s conveniences of remote controls we have gotten out of the habit of turning the TV OFF. Rather it is left in “standby” mode, but did you know that TVs are considered a “considerable fire hazard” in the home. After reading stories of TVs self combusting after being left in standby mode I make sure our TV is turned off at the set or power point every night.

5. We Hide The Matches

We have a wood heater at home as our main heating source, so it is on most nights during the cooler months. I also have two young boys who are very interested in helping me light the fire. At ages 5 and 7 that means helping Mum bring in the wood after school each day and maybe laying the sticks to start the fire. We have regular conversations about the dangers of playing with matches, and they are kept well out of reach and line of sight.

One of my youngest’s friends started a fire behind his house recently with matches he found at home. It got out of control very quickly but thankfully neither him or any property was damaged before it could be put out. But he got a damn good fright and I have used it as an example to my boys about how quickly things can happen, even when you think you are being safe.

Did you know the NZ Fire Service run a Fire Awareness and Intervention Programme for kids who like to start fires – check it out here.

There are many more ways you can help make your home safe so head over to the NZ Fire Service website for more information.

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Category: DIY, Family

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