Fire Safety Advice..
Fire Prevention in the Home
Most residential fire deaths occur because of inhalation of toxic gas, rather than contact with flames. The tragedy is that many of these deaths could be prevented by taking a few precautions.
General Fire Prevention Tips
* Do not plug too many appliances into an electrical outlet.
* Make sure that combustibles are not too close to stoves.
* Never smoke in bed or soft furniture.
* Do not use damaged or frayed electrical cords or extension cords.
* Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
* Teach your children about the dangers of playing with fire.
* Never use extension cords with heating or air conditioning equipment.
* Purchase smoke alarms and fire extinguishers for each floor of your home.
* Have an Emergency Escape Plan and practice it frequently.
* Close your downstairs doors at night before going to bed
The most obvious way out may be blocked by fire or smoke. Remember that the smoke of a home fire is extremely dense and toxic, taking any vision, so, if a downstairs room is on fire, a window will usually be the only way out of a room upstairs.
* Make sure that screens or storm windows can be easily removed.
* Ensure that you have tools available if windows must be broken.
* If you live in a two-story home, you should have an escape ladder for each occupied bedroom. Escape ladders are available for purchase, and they can easily be stored under a bed or in a closet.
Please note, that your anticipated escape route, for example over a bay window or similar, might well be blocked if the fire rages in the room below.
The photo shows a house, where the fire had come through a little roof, which otherwise could have acted as an escape route. Here, an alternative exit would have been required.
If you are exiting with young children, the parent to which the children are most attached to, should lead the way, as children will be more likely to follow. Establish a meeting place outside your home to be sure everyone has escaped. Every family member should participate in practice escape drills.
* In the event of fire, do not stop to get dressed or gather valuables. Seconds count - do not search for the family pet.
* Teach your family that in a fire they must stay low to the floor to avoid smoke.
* Passageways may be completely filled with dense smoke, so everyone should practice exiting on their hands and knees while blindfolded.
* Train family members to feel any closed door on the exit route before opening. If the door is warm, open it slowly, and close it quickly if heat or smoke rushes in.
* Establish a rule that once you're out, you never re-enter under any circumstances. As soon as two people have reached the meeting place, one should call 311 from a neighbour's house.
The earlier a fire is detected, the less risk there is to your life. Fire alarms and smoke detectors play a very important role in this
* Purchase a smoke alarm for every floor of your home, and read the instructions on how to use it and where to position it.
* Smoke alarms should be placed near bedrooms, either on the ceiling or six to twelve inches below the ceiling on the wall. Do not place it within 6" of where the wall and ceiling meet on either surface.
* Locate smoke alarms away from air vents.
* Test your alarms regularly to ensure that they still work.
* If you have a battery-powered alarm, change the battery every six months when you change your clocks.
* For maximum protection, install BOTH ionisation and photoelectric smoke alarms in the home for the optimum detection of fast flaming fires and slow smoldering fires.
* We recommend the installation of linked alarms which go off at the same time to avoid the risk of not hearing the alarms in a distant part of the house
To guard against small fires or to keep a small fire from developing into a big one, every home should be equipped with fire extinguishers. Because almost all fires are small at first, they might be contained if a fire extinguisher is handy and used properly.
You should take care, however, to select the right kind of fire extinguisher, because there are different ones for different kinds of fires. Install fire extinguishers on every level of the home and include the kitchen, ground floor and garage.
Selecting a Fire Extinguisher
Extinguishers are classified according to the class of fire for which they are suitable. The five classes of fires are A, B, C, D, k:
Class A fires involve common combustibles such as wood, paper, cloth, rubber, trash and most plastics. They are common in typical commercial and home settings.
Class B fires involving flammable liquids, solvents, oil, petrol, paints, lacquers, other oil-based products and liquifying plastics. Class B fires often spread rapidly. Unless they are properly suppressed, they can re-flash after the flames have been extinguished.
Class C fires caused by combustion of gases e.g. methane, propane, hydrogen, acetylene, natural gas and city gas.
Class D fires involve combustable metals as magnesium and aluminium swarf.
Class k fires are the classical pan fire. Chip pan fires can only be controlled with fire blankets or special wet chemical fire extinguishers, which lay a cooling and oxygen-blocking foam carpet on top of the boiling oil. The wet chemical fire extinguishers usually come with an application lance.
A typical home or office fire extinguisher should have an ABC rating, while your fire extinguisher in the kitchen ought to be suitable for pan fires as well.