No one likes to imagine their home and all their precious possessions going up in flames, but taking steps towards preventing fire – as well as setting up a plan should the worst happen – is essential for everyone. Here are seven important tips from Fire & Rescue NSW to help you do just that.
1. Smoke alarms
Did you know you’re twice as likely to die in a fire if your home is not fitted with a working smoke alarm? You should have at least one smoke alarm on each floor of your property, ensure it is installed correctly, check its batteries every month, replaced them every year and replace the unit itself every 10 years.
2. Escape plan
Draw a floorplan of your property, identifying two ways of escape from each room, highlighting possible routes. Keep all exits clear of any potential blockages, and ensure keys are kept in an easy-to-access spot so windows and doors can be opened easily. Decide on a meeting place and share your escape plan with the rest of the household. In the event of a fire, exit immediately, don’t attempt to re-enter the building, and call 000.
3. Open flames
Never leave your stove, candles, oil burners or anything else with an open flame unattended.
4. Power points
More than 350 residential fires are caused by electrical faults each year in NSW alone. Never overload your power points or power boards, switch off any appliances that are not in use and ensure your power points and power boards are well-ventilated and dust-free.
5. Lint filter
You probably know this one by now, but a reminder never hurts. Always (and we mean ALWAYS) clean your dryer’s lint filter every time you use it.
6. Clean gutters
If a nearby property to yours catches fire, having gutters filled with leaves will only add fuel to the flame should it transfer to your home. Ensure you regularly check your gutters and clear them of any leaves, litter or other debris.
7. Fire extinguisher
Ensure your fire extinguisher is the correct type for the fire you’d be most likely to encounter (e.g. never use a water extinguisher on a fire involving electrical equipment). An extinguisher should only be used within the first few minutes of the fire igniting, only after calling 000, and the user should follow the acronym “PASS”.
- Pull the pin at the top of the extinguisher (breaking the seal) and test it, while aiming away from yourself and anyone else, to check it works as well as to familiarise yourself with its range.
- Aim the nozzle towards the base of the fire while standing at a safe distance.
- Squeeze the handles to spray the contents, and release to stop.
- Sweep the nozzle from side to side of the base of the flames.
Always ensure your home and contents insurance policy is up-to-date and will cover you in the event of a fire.
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