A house fire can be devastating, it's not something anyone wants, and yet over 50 house fires happen every year in Australia. The best time to prepare for a house fire is now when you clear your head and can make the changes necessary to keep your home safe.
There are 5 key steps you should take today to prepare for a house fire:
Make a plan
A fire can quickly make a house confusing even though you think you know it so well. One of the worst things about fire is smoke getting into your lungs preventing you from breathing properly. It also prevents you from seeing where you are going. To help you and your family get out safely, create two escape routes from every room in the house and make sure every family member knows what it is. This will help everyone get out safely no matter where they are. Now that you've worked out the plan, you need to practice it. There is no limit to the number of times you can practice to ensure that all family members know what to do.
Put safety devices in your home
The next step is to check what fire protection devices your home has. You should have a smoke alarm at every level as this is your first warning of a problem. It's also a good idea to have fire extinguishers in key locations around your home. These can help you put out a small fire, but never put out a large fire with a fire extinguisher. You should also check out fire shutters and curtains that can help contain a fire and buy vital minutes to get out safely.
Make sure all family members know how to contact the fire department
This may seem basic, but it's important to cover it. All family members, no matter how young or old, should know how to contact the fire department. It's not just about knowing the number, they need to know how to get to a phone when all the phones are in the house and you never go back to a burning building.
Get an electrical inspection
Faulty electrical systems are a major cause of house fires. You can reduce the risk by having an annual electrical inspection. A qualified electrician will identify any wiring problems and help you resolve them to effectively reduce the risk of fire. Don't forget that damaged cables can easily result in a short circuit that creates a spark that will start a fire. Electrical inspections make sense.
Finally, make sure to review your plan regularly. There is little point in relying on a plan drawn up five years ago when your home has changed dramatically during that time. It is important that you review your plans annually, practice, and make sure everyone knows what to do. Hopefully they never really have to do that.