The damage to property and possessions from a fire can be catastrophic. As fire moves through a building, it destroys all before it, leaving behind smoke damage and an extensive amount of soot to clean up. According to government figures, it takes less than 30 seconds for a small flame to turn into a major fire, and only minutes for black smoke to fill a house.
At BELFOR, we’ve helped countless people recover their homes after the devastating effects of fire damage, some of which could have been avoided with simple home fire safety and prevention measures. We specialize in helping get things back and track for you and your property in the aftermath of a fire, but here are a few tips to avoid one in the first place.
How To Prevent Fire
Within our own homes, we all have a responsibility to minimize the risk of a fire destroying our property and possessions. Following some of the tips on our home fire safety checklist could help to make the difference and save your house from the devastating effects of a fire.
Home Fire Safety Checklist
- Do Your Smoke Detectors Work?
The most important first step to take is to ensure you have working smoke detectors. Check the batteries regularly and make sure that all family members, including children, know what they sound like.
- Do You Have an Evacuation Plan?
Each member of your family should know how to evacuate from every room. This should include two evacuation routes, in case one is blocked.
- Do You Have Fire Extinguishers?br /> Having fire extinguishers placed around the home is key to minimize the risk of a fire taking hold. Having at least one on each floor of your home is a good idea.
Are You Cautious When Cooking?
Never leave anything cooking on the stove unattended. If you leave the kitchen, turn off the stove.
- Do You Restrict Smoking to Outside?
Always smoke outside the house and put out any cigarettes when finished. Avoid smoking inside the home, especially in bed. Mattresses and bedding are highly flammable.
- Do You Know How to Prevent Electrical Fires?
Ensure you’re not using any electrical appliances that have frayed wires and never run cords under furniture. If you notice any electrical problems, such as hot light switches, turn them off and have them professionally replaced.
- Is Your Property Child-Safe?
Make sure that all lighters, matches, etc. are kept out of the reach of children. Keep children away from lit candles and stoves and teach them of the dangers of fire.
- Do You Have Fuel Lying Around?
You may not think of piles of books, newspapers, blankets etc. as being fuel, but in the event of a fire they can be. Make sure you don’t have any of these lying around.
How To Put Out A Fire
Fire prevention is the most important aspect of avoiding fire damage. However, if you are unfortunate enough to be affected, it’s important to know how to put out a fire effectively. Once a fire has ignited, you’ll only have a matter of seconds before it spreads. To avoid the risk of further damage, ensure you’re aware of the best ways to put out a fire.
How To Use A Fire Extinguisher
Having a fire extinguisher in your property is one thing but knowing how to use it is another entirely. There are several types of fire extinguishers, each having their own uses for different types of fire. It’s extremely important that you use the right type depending on the fire. These include:
- Class A Extinguishers will put out fires in ordinary combustibles such as wood and paper.
- Class B Extinguishers are for use on flammable liquids like grease, gasoline and oil.
- Class C Extinguishers are suitable for use only on electrically energized fires.
- Class D Extinguishers are designed for use on flammable metals.
In order to stop a fire in your home using a fire extinguisher, follow these steps:
P – Pull the pin on the extinguisher.
A – Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.
S – Squeeze the trigger.
S - Sweep from side to side.
To use a fire extinguisher effectively, these steps are very important, especially aiming at the base of the fire. Aiming the extinguisher at the top of the flames will do nothing to stop the fire.
How To Put Out A Grease Fire
Grease fires are a very common type of domestic fire and can cause huge amounts of damage due to the difficulty in putting them out. If you ever experience a grease fire in the kitchen, here are some tips for how to put out an oil fire:
- Turn Off The Heat – Immediately turn off the heat source to the fire.
- Cut The Oxygen – Use the lid of the pot or a damp rag to cover the fire and starve it of oxygen.
- Use A Fire Extinguisher – Use a Class B fire extinguisher to put out the fire.
Never throw water onto a grease fire as this will only cause more problems, by causing the grease or oil to splash and spreading the fire.
Taking these measures to avoid a fire in the home will reduce the chances of a disaster happening. If you are unfortunate enough to be the victim of a fire, BELFOR’s team of fire recovery professionals can help you. With experience in everything from smoke damage to soot removal and a 24-hour emergency hotline, we’re here to help you get back to normal after a fire.