The cold winds of December and January are now gone and we’ve entered summertime. As temperatures rise this season, the chances of getting fires at home increase, especially now that cooling appliances are always running. As we observe Fire Prevention Month, here are some best practices to avoid fires at home:
Install exit doors
This is especially important when you live in a multi-level home. In case a fire breaks out, it’s easy to get trapped in any location at home without a way out. It is best to install stairways on opposite sides of the house for a safe exit. You don’t even have to install huge stairways you usually find in buildings or malls; a latch and ladder outside a window should be enough.
Don’t use padlocks on window grills
To avoid burglaries, window grills have become a common feature in Pinoy homes. However, these iron grills, which are usually shut with padlocks, pose danger during emergencies or in case of fire. It’s easy to forget where the keys are located when in panic or the way to get the keys can get blocked during emergencies. To avoid these situations, go for shutters that can be easily opened in case windows need to be used as an emergency exit.
Don’t leave your gas stove unattended
One of the biggest fire hazards is an unattended gas stove. Multitasking has indeed been a helpful tool during this year-long lockdown, especially when you have to do chores in the middle of working, like preparing meals for the family. But you still shouldn’t leave cooking food in the kitchen unattended. In case this can’t be avoided, move your work setup to the kitchen or ask someone to monitor the stove for you.
The same also goes for burning candles. Scented candles have become more popular over the past year; aromatherapy is life! However, leaving burning candles can also be dangerous. The next time you’re winding down before you sleep, make sure to put out the fire of your burning candles.
Properly maintain cords
The remote work and school setup has made us rely heavily on our gadgets; more extension cords are used and your workstation has probably accumulated different cords and wires. Maintain your cords properly: unplug extension cords (especially big power outlets) when not in use and check wires if they’re chewed, frayed, or damaged before plugging them in. It’s also best to unplug appliances that aren’t in use to avoid damage from power surges. Also, be mindful of the placement of cords and avoid running them between furniture and the wall or under carpets and rugs as they can get hot.
Don’t keep empty gasoline cans or containers
Whether it’s for cooking or other appliances, you might be keeping a couple of bottles of gasoline at home. Once you run out, don’t keep its bottles or containers as they’re highly flammable too. Gasoline creates vapor, which can cause explosions when mixed with air and ignition like welding or soldering.
Don’t use gasoline as a cleaning agent
When cleaning tools or equipment at home, refrain from using gasoline. Instead, go for non-flammable products you can find in hardware stores. In addition, gasoline should not be used to clean hands of grease and dirt. Gasoline is very hazardous and causes inflammation. It’s also dangerous when inhaled and can cause headaches, dizziness, vomiting, and nausea.
Keep flammable items in safe places
Dry leaves and lawn clippings are highly flammable and should be disposed of properly. If can’t do so immediately, store them at a location away from the house as they can create heat and cause a fire. Did you know that flour can be explosive? Other flammable items frequently used at home like rubbing alcohol, cooking oil, hairspray and aerosol cans, and even gasoline or paint thinner must always be kept in cool and dry places, and away from heat or fire.
Educate family members on risks and safety
Prevention will always be better than cure. Have a rundown of preventive and safety measures with your family —even with children — and explain different situations where fire can happen. Discuss emergency exit plans just in case fire breaks out, and steps to follow to avoid panic. Also, keep a fire extinguisher at home! Remember that everyone in your home has to be informed for safety.
Do you have more tips to prevent fires at home? Share them below!