If there’s a fire in your home knowing what to do and acting quickly can ultimately save lives. With more Australians said to have been killed in residential fires each year than other natural hazards such as floods, storms and bushfires combined, a recent study examining 14 years of coronial records across Australia shows that most deaths occur at night and that the elderly, disabled, children and those living alone are largely the victims.
Prevention is often the key to fire safety and a high-tech photoelectric smoke alarm can help enormously by efficiently detecting smoke and smouldering fires. In case there is a fire in your home, be sure to know these 6 essential things to do if your home catches fire.
1 – Try to Extinguish the Fire
Once a fire sparks, it may still be possible to contain it. If cooking equipment like pots and pans overheat and catch fire on the stove, it’s important to remember to grab your fire extinguisher and put into play the acronym PASS: PULL the pin, AIM at the base of the flames, SQUEEZE the extinguisher handle and SWEEP from side to side to extinguish the flame. It’s important to be sure that the fire is no longer smouldering and has been completely put out.
Use a fire blanket. Always keep a fire blanket in the kitchen area so that it can be used to extinguish fire from pots, or it can be used to cover a person to protect them from fire. A fire blanket cuts off the oxygen supply to the contents of a pot or a person’s clothing.
2 – Get to Safety
A residential fire can produce dangerous smoke and poisonous gases that when inhaled can cause light-headedness and a loss of consciousness. This in turn can create further problems when trying to get out of a residential fire. Be sure to stay low to the ground to protect yourself from inhaling smoke and toxic fumes, while remembering to crawl to your closest exit. Once you’ve managed to make your way outside, the danger can still be prevalent. The roof or sides of your house or apartment can still catch fire and fall onto the ground. Be sure to run an appropriate distance away from the fire to across the street or down the block to safety.
3 – Call for Help
As soon as you’re safely away from the fire call the emergency services. If you don’t have your mobile phone with you then go to a neighbour’s house to ask to borrow their phone. Once you’re on the line, tell the operator that there’s a fire at your address and await to see if they need any other information.
4 – Check Doors for Heat
In the event of a fire in your home, be sure to check whether the door or doorknob is hot or not before entering a room. This is a good indication as to whether there’s a blazing fire on the other side of the door that you must avoid. If you do see smoke or fire when you open a door it’s important to shut the door and go through another exit.
5 – Cover Cracks and Call
If you’re trapped inside a burning house, be sure to cover any cracks around the door with anything that you can find such as towels, blankets, as well as jackets. Wet the fabric down and cover vents to ensure no smoke seeps into the room and call emergency services. If you’re stuck on an upper floor of a building, it’s best to not attempt to make your way through the fire. Ideally in this situation, you should hang large sheets outside your window or anything to capture the attention of onlookers down below to let emergency services know where you are.
6 – Stop, Drop and Roll
If your clothes catch on fire, it’s important to remember that you should stop instantly wherever you are and drop to the ground, to then roll and put out the flames. Running around will only fan the flames and make them burn faster. Besides smothering the flames by rolling, you can also cover the flames with heavy material like a coat or blanket or fire blanket to block the fire’s source of oxygen. Be sure to cover your face with your hands when you roll to prevent further harm to yourself from the flames.
How to Prevent a Fire in Your Home
1 – Check Your Smoke Alarms
A working smoke alarm can save your life. Be sure to choose a high quality smoke alarm for each house level, as well as the inside each bedroom (dependent on which state you are in). It’s important to test your alarms monthly and if you have a 9V battery in your smoke alarm, it is replaced once a year. The manufacture date can be found on the back of your alarm as it’s recommended to replace your old alarm with a new one ten years from that date.
2 – Arm Yourself with Fire Extinguishers
Don’t let a small fire engulf your entire home if you can stop the fire at the source. Taking the time out to learn and use a good fire extinguisher can give you and your family the peace of mind you deserve. Keeping a fire blanket close to the kitchen is a great idea as well as having a fire extinguisher in each vehicle.
3 – Follow Your Family’s Fire Safety Plan
Despite having fire drills at school and work, most families don’t conduct fire drills at home. Be sure that you and your family have been drilled sufficiently in your family home safety plan. As the saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry and your plan should include what to do when a smoke alarm goes off, how to safely exit the home, and where to meet. Be sure to practice these things together in your home fire drills and make sure everyone knows how to stay safe in the face of fire danger.
Be Proactive in Preventing Home Fires
The best way to ensure fire protection for you and your family is by preventing fires in the first place. Be sure to take small precautionary steps wherever you can to ensure a safer home for you and your loved ones. Try to avoid as much risk as possible with fire in the home with things such as switching to LED candles, avoiding smoking indoors, keeping an eye out for frayed wires, as well as teaching your children about fire safety. It’s important that everyone in your household is aware of the dangers of matches and lighters and that everyone is knowledgeable in preventing a home fire.
After just 2 minutes a residential fire can become life-threatening, while after 5 minutes your residence can be completely engulfed in flames. The best way to protect yourself from a fire is by preventing it and a reliable and durable smoke alarm is essential. If you’re looking to ensure that you and your family are safe from the dangers of a residential fire, there is sure to be a smoke alarm to suit your requirements here at the Home Safety Store.