There have been several infamous dwelling fires over the past couple of years, the tragic aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire can still be seen and, more recently, the devastation in Bolton. These awful incidents have brought fire safety to the forefront of national discourse and have prompted many to reflect on whether current legislation is enough.
However, no matter what is happening on a governmental level, you must always be aware of potential fire hazards and the methods of coping with them. To that end, we’ve compiled this blog of tips and advice on what to do in the event of a house fire.
Out of the Frying Pan…
When looking at house fires and how to prevent them, the common causes are a good place to start, and no other room sees more fires break out than the kitchen. Close to 60% of all dwelling fires originate from this space. If yours is in a common area or shared living space, then the potential risk increases exponentially, so it is even more vital you are affording the necessary level of care.
Now, often in our blogs we will talk about the importance of smoke alarms and there is something to say here about them too; don’t put them in the kitchen. Smoke is a common occurrence when cooking, so this might cause the alarm to go off even when there isn’t a fire. These false alarms, if you’ll pardon the pun, could lead you to not take the proper notice if an ignition were to happen. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have anything installed, but there are more effective options out there. For the kitchen, we would recommend going with a heat alarm, as this will identify any dangerous temperature changes. They are widely available online and at most hardware stores, plus you can fit them in yourself, so there is no need to call an electrician.
Getting the right alarm is pointless if you’re not cooking safely though and there are several things you can do to make your food prep as safe as possible. First, don’t leave any pots or pans unattended if they’re on heat as it only takes a second for them to go up in flames. Ensure any cooking utensils, as well as all your grills, hobs or stoves, are completely clean as grease build-up can contribute to a fire. If you’re using a gas cooker and must light it yourself, use a spark device; they’re safer than matches or lighters and there is a lower chance of you burning your fingers. A lot of this may sound like common sense, but that goes a long way in safeguarding you and your family.
Evacuating a House Fire
The process of evacuating is different depending on whether you are in a house or an apartment complex. For the former, you should evacuate the minute you become aware of the fire. Having a detailed plan is a good idea, with alternative options if a certain exit or room is blocked by the blaze.
When leaving, keep low to the floor as smoke rises, so sticking as close to the ground as possible will help you to limit your exposure to the fumes. Visibility may be low in this scenario, so it’s important to have an idea of where you are going beforehand.
If you have any children, ensure you are always monitoring them and that they too are informed of the route. A child’s instinct is often to hide, such as under beds or in a wardrobe, when they are frightened. Unfortunately, this can mean they are left in the house and become hard to reach in a house fire. Practicing the evacuation means that your children will get used to the routine and will know what to do in the event of a real fire, they are then far less likely to hide. If you live with vulnerable adults, such as the old or disabled, make sure your escape plan factors this in.
If you’re living in a high-rise block of flats, then the evacuation protocol is going to be different. First off, if the fire is not inside your apartment, the best course of action is to stay where you are with your doors shut. Open any windows to allow for air circulation, as well as alerting anyone outside to your whereabouts. If the fire does spread to your flat or you start to see smoke, then you should leave immediately, shutting any doors or windows as you go. When exiting the building, don’t try to take any possessions with you, just make your way out. There should be a designated escape route with clearly-marked exit signs, so be sure to follow this to the letter. Finally, never use the lift if there is a fire, stick to the stairs as you could get trapped.
Upgrade Your Fire Safety Equipment
When a fire has already spread, you must alert the emergency services and evacuate as quickly as possible. However, if ignition has occurred in your own home, and it hasn’t already spiralled out of control, you may be able to quash it before it gets worse. Firescape is on hand to help you, with our innovative fire safety product Spray-Safe. It’s a 335ml Aerosol extinguisher, one of the lightest options out there, fitting easily in most kitchen draws and cabinets. Independently tested by industry experts, as well as approved by the London Fire Brigade Enterprises, it’s a quick and effective way to tackle unexpected fires in your home. It uses Firescape’s patented, eco-friendly formula, so there is no toxic residue and it’s immensely easy to clean up. If you want to ensure the safety of you and your loved ones, take your home fire extinguisher game to the next level with Firescape.