- Have a small powder type fire extinguisher, preferably 2kg in the kitchen and learn how to use it. If possible get a security provider to train you on home fire safety.
- Never use a water extinguisher on a fire caused by fat. You will spread the fire and increase its intensity as burning oil floats on water. The water will transport the fire elsewhere.
- Always disconnect the gas cylinder after cooking and ensure that the gas hose is secured tight with clips to prevent leakage.
- Avoid d keeping kerosene or petrol in the house, but if you must, store them in a sealed metal container, made for the purpose not in plastic jerrycan!
- Don’t wear loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.
- Keep the children away from the cooking area. Enforce a “kid-free zone” and make them stay at least three feet away from the stove.
- Keep anything that can catch fire - pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from your stove, oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.
- Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.
- Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.
- Fit an automatic alarm system in your house. One zone can be used for fire detection and can keep your house safe even when you are away, or asleep.
- Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year. It is preferable to fit network smoke detectors so that your alarm systems are activated if a fire breaks out.
Heating equipment is the second most common cause of home fires and fatalities. Safety is especially important when choosing and using heating products.
The following precautions should be taken when heating appliances are used in the homes.
- Keep portable heaters at least one meter away from any object that could easily catch fire such as furniture, curtains, laundry, clothes and even yourself. If you have a furnace, get it inspected once a year to make sure it is working to safety standards.
- All fuel-burning appliances use up fresh air as they burn, and give off waste gases including the deadly carbon monoxide (CO). Never block air vents or airbricks and service appliances. Be aware of symptoms of Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning such as drowsiness and flu like symptoms.
- If you use a chimney or flue, or bring one back into use, have it swept at least once a year, or more frequently if you burn wood.
- Never block any outside grilles or rest anything against it.
- If a gas flame, which normally burns blue, burns orange this may be a built up of carbon monoxide. Have your appliance checked immediately.
- Check the pilot regularly on gas cookers and water heaters to make sure it has not gone out.
- When buying gas appliances look for the standards Safety mark or Seal of Approval and beware of second hand bargains and cowboy installers.
- If you suspect a gas leak, open the windows, turn off the supply and call your gas supplier. Don't operate switches as a spark could ignite the gas.
- Always keep a special watch on young children and elderly people when fires and heaters are in use.
Use of Electricity
Many accidents and fatalities in the home involve electricity and therefore it must be treated with respect.
Safety is especially important when choosing and using the electrical appliances. It is extremely important that wiring is properly done using the right quality of wires and materials.
The following precautions should be taken regarding use of electricity in the homes.
- Ensure that electrical installations are up to standard. They should be inspected annually by a certified electrician, who then places a certificate in the fuse box.
- Ensure that fuses are correctly rated. If circuit breakers are fitted and they trip, investigate the problem and avoid the temptation to fit a larger breaker without professional advice.
- Avoid using adaptors, but if you must use them, ensure that they are certified by the relevant Authority.
- Do not overload extension cables or adaptors with devices such as fan heaters.
- Do not sleep with fan heaters on. They could overheat and catch fire.
- Do not place such devises on carpets. some carpets burn and give off highly toxic gases.
- Do not leave immersion heaters on for long periods, and ensure that your water heater is off if your water supply has been cut because the heater can overheat and catch fire. The insulation on these tanks produces a cyanide type gas which is lethal.
- Make sure the any water- related electrical device like a pool pump or instant hot water heater is protected by RCCD (Residual Current Circuit Device), a special circuit breaker that protects the user from electrocution. This is very important but often overlooked.
- Have your wiring installation checked at least once every five years by an approved contractor, or straightaway if you are buying an older property
- Do not use appliances with worn or damaged flexes.
- Keep portable mains-operated appliances out of the bathroom.
- If an appliance appears faulty stop using it and have it checked at once
- Consider having a RCD (residual current device) for whole house protection. These are especially valuable when power tools are used.
- Look for the quality mark when you buy electrical equipment
- Never overload an electric socket.