Fire safety at home is a major concern for most parents with children. A serious house fire can lead to extensive property damage and even loss of life. In NSW, approximately one third of house fires tend to occur more during the colder months of the year – between June and August. Although the number of deaths occurring from house fires is relatively small, all accidental deaths are generally regarded as preventable.
Here are some facts you need to know about the common causes of home fires, and what to do to prevent them in order to keep kids safe.
Children upto the teen years misuse a heat source or an ignited material.
Children love playing in and around the house with things they are not supposed to and sometimes even unsupervised. This includes meddling around with inflammable items or even playing with fire. In an unfortunate event of a mishap occurring, it leads to a fire incident. These incidents can lead to flame injuries and sometimes end up with fatalities. Do not leave any such inflammable items lying around the house where a child can be tempted and easily reach it.
A fire can start by a dropped cigarette in bed after falling asleep.
Any adult feels like unwinding before sleeping if it has been a hard day at work or home. But be careful not to smoke cigarettes while in bed. Falling asleep with a cigarette in hand is the most dangerous thing to do.
Be aware of your children’s habits and moods, as any experimenting teen could be prone to hiding smoking habits from parents. And smoking in their bedrooms can be hazardous.
Any equipment / appliances left on while asleep is a cause for concern.
It is a good practice not leave any electronic equipment on when going to bed as it tends to get heated. Computers, laptops, music systems, televisions etc., should be turned off. Remove the plugs from the socket if there is any indication of voltage fluctuation or storms. Make a habit and a routine for the kids to power down equipment before turning in for the night.
Equipment that may be in use while sleeping like air-conditioners, electrical heaters and humidifiers should be checked and serviced regularly to ensure they are not faulty.
Unattended heat sources like candles and indoor open fireplaces are a definite fire risk.
Though candles are mood setters and add to the ambience of any place, a lit candle should never be left unattended or kept in close proximity to any material that can catch fire easily. Kids should not be allowed to play or use candles until they are of a mature age. They should be taught how to handle and light matches properly and how to discard used ones carefully.
Furniture should be kept a safe distance from the fireplaces. And after using the fireplace, it should be properly cleaned. Any wood and inflammable liquid used for making the fire should be stored in a safe area. Though kids may enjoy helping out in the activity of getting a fire started, limit their handling of dangerous items.
A kitchen is another fire-prone area as it has various cooking equipment.
A kitchen could be well equipped but it’s that very equipment that could prove dangerous if left on and unattended. Besides equipment there may be gas vent flues, chimneys and connectors.
Stove tops, ovens and microwaves should be used as per specifications only. Never leave any equipment on if you are not going to be around. And most of all children should not be allowed to use these electrical equipment unless properly supervised.
Proper use of utilities and home appliances.
All equipment and home appliances should be checked and serviced regularly to ensure they are in proper working condition. Appliances like dryers, washing machines, portable appliances, dishwashers, etc., should be used only by adults. These appliances should be placed in a secure area and using them should be off-limits to children.
Keep service maintenance equipment secure.
Most families tend to have maintenance equipment for DIY projects around the house. These handy tools include torches, welding and cutting equipment, power saws, handheld garden maintenance equipment, flammable liquid transfer equipment and electric fencing. These should always be kept in a secured room or garage. Children should not be allowed to access the area or use any of the equipment.
Keeping all above precautions in mind, it is also good for a family to be well prepared in case of a fire emergency.
Actively educate your little ones on fire safety. Have a detailed fire escape safety plan for the family in case of an emergency. Have occasional practice fire drills to ensure that no one panics and everything goes as per plan.
Keep all emergency services contact details memorised as well as ready at hand. These are mainly the Fire Department, Police Department and Insurance Company.
After the fire incident, you may even want to consult a professional psychologist to help your child cope with the effects of such a traumatic event.
Have you experienced a fire in your house? Biosite Cleanup has an extensively trained fire damage restoration team that can respond quickly to such a situation. Our technicians use the right mechanisms to clean up, repair and restore your property, preventing further deterioration and expenses. So if you are looking for a fire damage restoration specialist in Goulburn, Canberra, Batemans Bay and surrounding areas of NSW, give us a call. We will be there to help you out.