How to Prevent Fire Damage

Your home is the centre point of your life.  It is where we enjoy time with family, eat, sleep, relax, keep our belongings and is full of precious memories.  Unfortunately, many elements in your home are susceptible to fire-related damage.  Fires can spread incredibly quickly and so it does not take much time for large areas of a home to be destroyed when a fire breaks out.  There are steps that you can take to reduce the risk of a fire in your home to prevent devastating damage and the potential loss of lives.

Having working smoke detectors is the most important device that you can have in your home and it is the law.  By detecting the presence of smoke early, there is a greater chance that the amount of damage done to your home will be reduced.  It is vital that smoke detectors are checked regularly to ensure that they are working properly, and the batteries have not run out.  It is recommended that the batteries are changed a minimum of 1 time per year.

Make sure your heat sources are maintained by a professional. If they are not working as intended, there is a risk for malfunction-related fire. Dust and airborne particles can be flammable, such as the ones caught by air filters. These should be regularly cleaned to not only keep your heat sources working properly, but safely.  If you have any space heaters, you should be sure of keep them far away from anything that could possibly catch on fire.

Most fires start in the kitchen. The main cause for this is almost always something catching fire that should not be near an open flame. By keeping your stove area clean and free of possible fuel for fire like pasta, kitchen towels, grease and plants, the likelihood of a fire breaking out at your stove is drastically reduced.  Most toasters and toaster ovens use metal filaments that heat up when an electric current is passed through them. They heat until they glow red.  Depending on the heating element used, these metals can get hot enough to burn paper and even hair.  Actively keep heat sources clear of any possible fire-starting materials.

Your home’s electric line provides a voltage of around 120V which is high enough to create sparks between broken cords.  These sparks can contain enough energy to light a fire on dry, organic surfaces like window drapes, carpeting, and paper. If an electronic device has broken wires, unplug the device and have it repaired or replaced.  Never use electronic devices that have damaged wiring.  You should also be aware that you should never try to force 3 pronged plugs into 2 pronged outlets or extension cables as this can be dangerous. 

In the event a small fire breaks out, such as a pan fire, you can attempt to deprive the fire of oxygen. This will prevent it from growing and will eventually put it out.  If possible, cover the fire with a pot lid. Throw large amounts of salt and baking soda on the fire’s base. This will bury the flammable material.  Do not use carbohydrates like flour, starch, or rice as they will burn.

You should keep a fire extinguisher handy.   In the event of a fire, aim the fire extinguisher for the base of the fire, not the actual flames. The base is where the reaction begins and by displacing the local oxygen with the nonreactive chemicals in the fire extinguisher, the fire will cease to continue.  Only use a fire extinguisher once the fire department has been alerted and the fire is contained and not spreading through the area.

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