Fire is a powerful and unforgiving natural force of nature that can be almost peerlessly destructive is left to spread and run wild.
Once it takes hold, it can spiral out of control and cause untold damage to both property and individuals, so it’s advisable to take greater precautions in both a personal and professional context to prevent a fire before it becomes a serious problem.
With that in mind, we’ve collected 10 top tips for preventing and suppressing fire either at home or at work.
- Don’t overload your electrical outlets with too many appliances. We might live in a world where everything needs to be ‘plugged in’ but don’t overdo it by trying to plug too much in one outlet as a blown fuse could result in a rogue spark that could lead to a full-blown fire.
- Know how to use a fire extinguisher (pull, aim, squeeze and sweep) and make sure that you’re using the right one for the right situation - at home or at work.
- Passive fire protection products can be utilised in commercial situations where something a little more significant might be required. Structural fire-resistant building materials like plasterboard or drywall might be recommended in situations where a fire is more likely and the spread of fire could be particularly devastating - such as in a laboratory or industrial environment.
- Know the fire safety basics - the heat is more life-threatening than the flames themselves and the toxic gases released into the air during a fire can be just as dangerous too. Also be aware that, when it comes to fire - every second matters. So don’t dilly dally!
- Install proper fire alarms and make sure they are operational and positioned in a suitable location. Many modern fire alarms actually hook directly into your mains, so will never run out of battery. However, if your alarm is battery powered, make sure you check it at least weekly in case the battery needs replacing.
- Fixtures and recessed lights tend to trap heat and if overheated they can set on fire. To keep overheating at a minimum, use low-wattage bulbs or LED bulbs wherever possible.
- Make sure your escape routes are planned and properly mapped out in advance. If a fire is raging and thick smoke is obscuring your vision, you might get lost in the chaos and find yourself frozen with fear. However, if you know your escape route well enough, it should be a case of automatic pilot taking over. Also, don’t be afraid to hold regular fire drills - whether with your family at home or with your employees at work.
- Store flammable chemicals in a clearly marked cupboard as far away as possible from any potential heat or fire sources. Also, make sure you’ve read the labels clearly and always wash your hands after using them!
- Cooking and heating equipment are some of the most common causes of fires in many UK homes. Pay attention to this equipment and make sure that it is all in working order, that any chimney flues are cleaned regularly, that all equipment capable of producing fire is properly installed, cleaned and maintained (including greasy cookers), and that all combustibles are kept away from heat sources.
- If you smoke, ensure that all cigarettes are extinguished and disposed of before being thrown away and never smoke in bed or in the bath!
Published by Joel Borthwick