Each year in the UK, hundreds of people die, and thousands more are injured due to fires. None of us want to think about losing everything in a house fire, but there is plenty that we can do to reduce the risk and be prepared. Read on to learn how to be prepared for a house fire.
Understand And Reduce The Risks Of A House Fire
There are a number of things that can be done to reduce the risk of a house fire happening, and to reduce the risk of death or injury from a house fire too.
Understanding the causes of house fires, and learning about fire safety, is the biggest step that can be taken to reducing the risk of a house fire. Safety considerations include: kitchen fire safety, using candles safely, electrical safety, and safe use of wood burning stoves or open fires in the house.
In addition to understanding fire safety, it is important to have equipment available to warn you about a fire, and to be able to fight small fires. Install working smoke alarms on every floor of your home, and have fire extinguishers and fire blankets available in rooms where a fire is more likely to start – particularly the kitchen.
This Fireshield fire blanket and dry powder extinguisher set is a good combination to keep in the kitchen – this is the set that I have in my kitchen. The dry powder extinguisher is a good general purpose fire extinguisher, and the fire blanket is perfect for putting out pan fires before they spread to cause a house fire.
Smoke alarms are vital to give you a warning of smoke in the house. This FireAngel thermally enhanced optical smoke alarm uses both temperature measurement and detection of light scattering by smoke particles to provide a warning. It has an inbuilt, non-replaceable battery that lasts for 10 years.
Preparing For A House Fire
The most important step in preparing for a house fire is regularly checking that your smoke alarms work. Smoke alarms will give you an early warning about a fire and will wake you if a fire starts in the night. Being warned about a fire gives you a chance of being able to escape from the house before being overcome by smoke, or before the fire spreads to block escape routes.
Plan your escape routes from the house. Have plans for multiple escape routes in case some are blocked. Regularly practice your escape routes, using them as you would at carious times of the day or night. For example, if you need to go through a locked door as part of your escape route, consider where the key is normally kept – do you have to go away from your escape route to find the key, would it be easy to find the key if it was night time, there were no lights and it was smoky.
Your bug out bag should include a first aid kit with equipment to deal with burns. This may be very important during a house fire, so make sure your bug out bag is easy to grab if you have to escape from the house very quickly during a house fire.
Staying Safe During A House Fire
Getting out quickly is the highest priority during a house fire. Only consider using fire extinguishers or fire blankets to fight the fire if it is very small and you think you can do it safely.
When you escape from the house during a house fire, follow your plan using the closest escape route. Take your bug out bag if possible but do not put yourself in more danger to access it. Smoke rises, so while escaping stay as low as possible to avoid inhaling smoke. Before you open a door, feel it with the back of your hand. If the door is hot, there is fire on the other side so do not open the door. If possible, close doors behind you on way out. Once you are out, stay out and call 999.