These days, many of us like to unwind after a day of work by lighting up candles in our homes to create a relaxing environment, or sometimes we may accidentally forget to switch off the gas when we leave the house. The unexpected could happen at any time, and it’s best to always ensure that everyone in your home knows what to do.
With these tips, you can make sure that you take steps to prevent a fire from destroying your home, and also be prepared in case it happens.
Preventing a home fire
1. Conduct a fire drill
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Consider different fire locations and make sure everyone participates. Everyone has to be out within two minutes and at the designated meeting place. Do this at least annually. This will not only keep the knowledge fresh in everyone’s minds, but it will also allow you to spot any new obstructions or hazards. If it has been a while since your last fire drill, now would be a good time to have one.
2. Check fire exits
There should be at least two ways to escape from every room — and everyone in the household should know. All rooms used for sleeping should have a big-enough window to the outside of the house. Make sure that they aren’t locked and can be easily opened.
3. Check appliances
Have a licensed electrician check for overloading, especially when you increase the number of appliances. To avoid overheating, there should be enough space around the appliance.
4. Do not be cheap
There is a time to be Kiasu… and this is not one of those times. Do not try to cut costs when it comes to items that could potentially cause fires. Cheap butane canisters should not be refilled with LPG.
5. Keep fire and heat away from combustible materials
Never smoke in bed and never leave candles unattended.
6. Teach the children
Regularly remind them about the dangers of fire, matches and lighters. Keep them out of reach!
During a Fire
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1. GET OUT, STAY OUT and call for help
Ideally, all family members manage to escape — do not run back to save your things. The national emergency hotline is 995 but it would be also good to know the number of the fire station nearest to your home.
2. Crawl low under smoke
Most fire-related deaths are caused by smoke inhalation, not by the actual fire itself. Take time to practice this.
3. Never open doors that are warm to the touch
Use the second exit, or if you are trapped, place a wet towel under the door. Wave a brightly-coloured cloth or use a flashlight to signal for help from an open window.
4. Stop, drop and roll
If someone’s clothes catch fire, this is what to do to put the flames out.
Fire safety tips FOR KIDS:
Kids: Do you know what to do if there is a fire?
Here are 5 fire safety tips for kids that will help you prevent a fire in your home, and stay calm and safe in an emergency:
#1 Don’t play with matches, lighters and candles
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In fact, don’t even pick them up. If you find matches or a lighter on the floor, be sure to tell an adult. This goes for lit candles, too.
#2 Memorise emergency numbers
Kids, it is important that you are well aware of our emergency numbers: 995 for fire and ambulance and 999 for police.
#3 Check your house for fire hazards
Switches and electrical cords should be checked regularly to make sure they are in good working order. Get your father to monitor the house for any faulty wires.
If there is an adult in the home who smokes, make sure that he disposes of his ashes frequently in a heavy metal container.
#4 Make a family fire safety plan and practice it
Talk to your family about where you should go and what you should all do in the event of a fire. You should run through the different fire escape routes with your family and also pick a meeting point outside — a neighbour’s house, a big tree, a nearby park — where everyone can meet.
Don’t just talk about it — run through your plan to make sure everyone knows what to do. Check windows and screens to make sure that they will open if necessary. And practice meeting up at your assigned location outside.
#5 Never hide in your rooms!
You may be scared but never hide during a fire. Try your best to find a way out. Get outside and wait for your parents or caregivers at your assigned spot.
Take note of these tips and stay safe!