Simple Tips to Fireproof Your Home
Every year, approximately 180,000 people are killed in burn accidents, that is why in the Philippines to provide knowledge about fire Proclamation 115-A was signed. This proclamation states that March is designated as “Fire Prevention Month” to promote “safety consciousness among our people every day of the year, a preventive approach to a problem that can be solved by more caution, vigilance, sobriety, the exercise of common sense, and respect for the law.
Accidents involving fire can happen at any time and keeping your family safe should thus be your top priority. You’re probably wondering how you can improve residential security to protect your home from fire. The good news is that you can fireproof your home, belongings, and family by taking simple precautions. But the big question is, how can you keep your home safe from fires? The following are some excellent residential security solutions for fireproofing your home.
Get a Fire Extinguisher
One of the most effective ways to fireproof your home is to purchase a fire extinguisher. A fire extinguisher can put out a fire quickly before it spreads throughout your home. It is critical to keep a fire extinguisher in an easily accessible location to ensure that it is always available. It is also a must to get an ABC rating fire extinguisher as it is suitable for use with fires involving ordinary combustible materials, flammable liquids, and energized electrical equipment.
Utilize Double Pane Windows
In a matter of minutes, intense heat can shatter windows. However, you can easily fireproof your home by installing dual-pane windows for added security. Double pane windows are also energy-efficient and can help you save money monthly.
Fire Doors Have the Potential to Save Your Life
Fire can spread quickly. This is why you should install fire doors in critical areas. Closing the doors, especially at night when fires are more common, can drastically reduce the risk of a fire. These doors can withstand flames and smoke for up to an hour, giving you valuable time to flee if the fire becomes too intense.
Have fire-resistant plants and trees
Using fire-resistant plants is another excellent way to make your home fireproof. Avoid barks and flammable plants like pine, cedar, and tall grass. Fire-resistant trees include cherry, birch, and poplar. Mow your grass as well to keep the fire from spreading. You will want to make a cedar hedge if you have one.
Examine and Install Smoke Alarms and Smoke Detector
It is critical to change the batteries in your smoke detectors twice a year to keep you and your family safe. It is also a good idea to test your smoke detectors monthly to add an extra layer of protection against a house fire.
Consider putting in a metal or tile roof.
Investing in a metal or tile roof is an excellent way to keep your home safe from fires. Both of these products are highly fire-resistant and will last for many decades.
Consider using fire retardant materials
When doing a home improvement, use fire retardants such as fire-retardant paints, carpets, and building materials such as the following:
Here is an extended list of fire retardant materials:
- Gypsum board
- Intumescent paint
- Perlite boards
- Proplex Sheets
- Calcium or Sodium Silicates
- Treated lumber plywood
- Treated Fibers – cotton, jute, hemp, flax
- Fire-retardant treated wood
- Cement render
Wet Wood Outside Your House
It is critical to take the time to wet down any type of wood structure outside of your home to prevent the spread of a fire. Spraying down doorways, decks, porches, storage sheds, wood shakes, and window frames is a great way to stay ahead of a fast-moving fire.
Clear Out Your Gutters
Cleaning your gutters will protect your home’s foundation while also assisting you in fireproofing your home. Debris removal is critical in reducing the possibility of embers blowing in and causing extensive damage to your home.
Get Your Roof Wet
Strong winds can cause flying sparks and embers to ignite the shingles on your roof. If a wildfire is approaching your home, the best way to avoid such a dire scenario is to wet down your roof, as a wet roof makes it much more difficult for embers to catch fire and set your house on fire.
Take Care of Your Lawn
During the winter, the vast majority of lawns go dormant. Furthermore, the long, hot summer causes grass to become extremely dry, which poses significant risks because it is highly flammable. However, keeping your lawn short is critical in preventing a wildfire from consuming your home.
Dry Vegetation should be removed.
Taking the extra time to remove dry vegetation around your house is critical in lowering the likelihood of a wildfire, especially in rural areas, and is considered a fire hazard that can your home. Dry vegetation such as dry grass and dead leaves is an excellent source of fuel for wildfires, making it much more difficult to keep these fires away from your home. The best time to remove dry vegetation is during the spring and fall seasons.
A few more tips for a fire safety community from The Philippine Information Agency’s BFP:
- Unplug all electrical equipment when not in use and inspect electrical equipment regularly to avoid overloading electrical circuits.
- Check for gas leaks and store the LPG tank in a well-ventilated area to avoid the accumulation of gas vapors when using cooking gas.
- Enforce a “No Smoking” policy both inside and outside the home, and properly dispose of cigarette butts.
- Maintain proper housekeeping and keep flammable materials out of children’s reach. Candles, lighters, and matches are examples of flammable materials that should be stored properly and securely.
- Prepare ahead of time by creating an emergency and evacuation plan at home and becoming familiar with escape routes. Above all, keep flammables away from your children.
- In the event of a fire, close the door to the burning area to prevent the fire from spreading. As smoke rises, take slow, deep breaths and cover your nose and mouth with a wet cloth to avoid suffocation.
- When trapped in a fire-damaged area, it is strongly advised to seek refuge in a room with windows that lead outside.
- If your clothes catch fire, do not run or panic; instead, “Stop, Drop, and Roll.” In this life-threatening situation, shout for help or wave a cloth outside the window to alert those around you, and remember to stay calm.
- The most important thing to do is dial 911, the national emergency hotline number, and inform the emergency operator of your situation.
What to do if your house catches fire and firefighters are not yet around?
According to the American Red Cross, here are the steps you should take if a fire breaks out in your home:
- Understand how to use a fire extinguisher safely.
- Remember to GET OUT, STAY OUT, and have your local emergency phone number at the ready.
- Several times yell “Fire!” and rush outside. Use the stairs if you live in a building with elevators. Leave everything where it is and save yourself.
- If your closed doors or handles are warm, or if smoke is blocking your primary escape route, use your backup plan. Never, ever open doors that feel warm to the touch.
- If you have no choice but to flee through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your exit. Close all the doors behind you.
- If smoke, heat, or flames obstruct your escape routes, remain in the room with the doors closed. Place a wet towel under the door and dial 911 or your local emergency phone number. To summon assistance, open a window and wave a brightly colored cloth or flashlight.
7. Once outside, proceed to your meeting location and delegate one person to call the fire department. If you are unable to arrive at your meeting location, follow your family’s emergency communication plan.