A neighbor of mine recently had a house fire, which caused some damage but thankfully no injuries or fatalities. An unused electric extractor fan seemed to be the starting point of the fire, certainly unexpected, certainly an event no one could foresee, and I am sure traumatic for all involved. Much like acts of unexpected violence, when something like this happens ‘we are on the back foot’, trying to catch up with the situation.
During an event like this we are adrenalized and panicked and trying to save people and assets. It is a tough position to be dropped into without much notice or training but there are a few things we can do at home to try and achieve good outcomes if we suffer a fire event.
As always, it is better to have a plan in place before the event and to run realistic drills, to gain the operational advantage when things go wrong. In the case of a house fire here are some points you should consider:
- Ensure you have firefighting equipment (extinguishers, fire blankets, smoke alarms), and know exactly where it is located.
- Keep a torch beside your bed in case of emergencies.
- Have a good night/ lock-up routine, ensure all electrics are switched off and unplugged.
- Check smoke alarms every quarter and replace batteries every year.
- Have a family fire plan, if things go wrong, who does what and where do we gather to ensure everyone is accounted for.
- Ensure you have some way to get out safely if the electricity is gone or if there is smoke (for a smoke filled area, a good torch and get down low)
- If you have a chimney, ensure it is cleaned EVERY year.
- Keep you escape routes CLEAR.
These are a few basic points but please read over them and have a plan, just in case.
There is some excellent information available from the following sources regarding fore safety in the home, well worth a look.
(Above publication available in English, Chinese, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish)