Fire Safety in the Home

Most fatal fires occur in the home and winter is a high-risk time. A faulty electrical appliance or washing left too close to a heater could have disastrous consequences, causing major structural damage and exposing family members to harm.

Fortunately there are a few simple things you can do to help protect your family from the dangers of fire. Taking the time to regularly check risk areas, making sure you have a working smoke alarm, and preparing a home fire escape plan, can give you a greater chance of avoiding and escaping the devastating effects of fire. Make sure that you and your family are prepared for a house fire! Fire safety services and fire extinguishers Sydney

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PROTECT YOUR HOME WITH OUR HOME FIRE SAFETY KITS

Home fire survival rules

Keep emergency numbers near the phone

• Ensure emergency numbers are keyed into all the phones in your home.
• Dial 000 (Triple Zero) for fire, police and ambulance.
• It’s never too early to teach children how to responsibly contact emergency services.

Practise your home fire escape plan regularly

• Identify the quickest, safest way to get out of the house from every room, including upper floors.
• Agree on a place to meet outside (letter box or nature strip) and practise it.
• Ensure your house number is clearly visible so emergency services can find you quickly.

Stop, drop, cover and roll

• If your clothes catch fire – stop, drop, cover your face with your hands and roll to smother the flames.
• To help someone else, throw a woollen blanket over them to extinguish the flames.

Get down low and go go go!

• If there’s smoke in your house, get down low and go, go, go!
• In a fire, the safest area for breathing is near the floor where the air is cooler and cleaner, so remember to crawl low in smoke.

Check doors for heat before opening

• Use the back of your hand to check for heat, then get down low and crawl to safety.
• Close doors behind you if possible. If the door is hot, use another exit.
• Get everyone out of the house as quickly as possible.

Call the fire brigade on 000

• Call the fire brigade from a neighbour’s house, public or mobile phone and wait for them to arrive.
• Tell them where the fire is and if anyone is still inside.
• Never go back inside for any reason.

In winter 2008, cooking equipment accounted for 31.3% of residential structural fires; heating systems accounted for 14.2% and electrical faults 9.6%.

The 3 most common causes of winter fires are:

Accidents or distractions from cooking in the kitchen
Fireplace and heater-related incidents
Electrical faults
Reports indicate that over the last 12 months, approximately 30% of fires in residential dwellings start in the kitchen, with 11% in the bedroom, 11% in the lounge room and 4% in the laundry. Cooking equipment or heating caused 20% of these fires and 20% were caused by electrical faults.

Every household should have a home fire escape plan and practise it regularly.
It should identify all the exits in your house and the designated location where family members will meet once they are safely outside.

All those who care for your children or stay in your house should be aware of the
home fire escape plan. Show them all the exits and where the telephone and
emergency numbers are located.

Create your family’s home fire escape plan

Step 1: Download the grid below to create your family’s home fire escape plan. Draw your home floor plan on the grid, marking all the exits.
Step 2: Get the children involved by asking them to help identify the two quickest and safest ways to get out of the house from every room, including upper floors.
Step 3: Decide on an outside meeting place, such as the letterbox.
Step 4: Practise your home fire escape plan regularly with the whole family.
Step 5: Keep the plan handy (on the fridge) to remind everyone of the safe exits in case of fire.

Are you prepared for a house fire?

There are many precautions you can take to help safeguard your home and your
loved ones from the threat of fire in the home.

Download the home fire safety checklist to find out how you rate when it comes to
home fire safety. If you’re unable to answer ‘yes’ to most of the checklist questions,
then you increase your risk of a fire breaking out in your home.

Keep the checklist on the fridge as a reminder of what you can do to help keep your home safe.

Home fire safety tips

• Never leave cooking, heaters, open fires or candles unattended
• Don’t overload power boards
• Keep electrical appliances in good working order
• Ensure cigarette ash and butts are extinguished. Never smoke in bed
• Do not dry clothing less than one metre from heaters
• Clean lint filters on clothes dryers after every use and always let dryers complete the cool-down cycle
• Store all matches and lighters out of reach of children
• By law every home must have at least one working smoke alarm installed on each level of the house. Clean and test your alarms regularly and make sure they are working
• Install a fire extinguisher and fire blanket and know how to use them
• Have a home fire escape plan and practise it regularly
• Never deadlock yourself inside the house. Keep keys in the lock when you are at home

Free Home Fire Safety Check

Home Fire Risk Assessments or a Home Fire Safety Check can sound daunting to many people, especially the elderly. However, this page will explain what they entail and how you can go about having one carried out.

A Home Fire Risk Assessment is where members of your local Fire and Rescue Service will visit your home, at a time convenient to yourself, and carry out an inspection of your home. The visit may be carried out by firefighters who are operational, so don’t be surprised if a fire engine arrives at your home, or a dedicated team from the local Fire and Rescue Service. You do however need to be aware that a fire appliance can be called away at a moment’s notice as it is still part of operational resources within your area. They will of course call back, or arrange another date if needed.

As mentioned above, the Home Fire Risk Asessment visits are carried out by operational crews, they are completely free and you may be eligible for free smoke alarms to be fitted were required. You will not be sold anything.

The visits focus on three key areas:

Identify and be aware of the potential fire risks within your home.
Know what to do in order to reduce or prevent these risks.
Put together an escape plan in case a fire does break out and ensure you have working smoke alarms.
The inspection of your home is not as intrusive as it sounds. We will visit your home, sit down and talk to you about fire safety issues in your home covering areas such as electrical safety, smoking safety and the use of electric blankets. We will then, with your permission look at the various rooms within your home paying particular attention to areas such as overloads plug sockets or wires trapped under carpets. We will also ensure that doors shut correctly and advise you of any remedial work that we feel may be in order for you to become safer within your home. You are welcome to ask any questions that you feel you need answering in respect of your home safety. We will also run through an escape plan if you do not already have one.

In addition to the above, you may qualify for free smoke alarms to be fitted within your home. We will carry this out completely free of charge and can fit them in a matter of minutes, ensuring you are safer from the moment we leave.

Your local Fire and Rescue Service will regularly advertise Home Fire Risk Assessments through the media, but you can book one direct by contacting your local Fire and Rescue Service.

You may also make enquiries on behalf of another person – however unless you are responsible for that person, you will need to obtain their permission before you proceed.

Home Fire Safety Inspection

The inspection will check each room of your home and offer fire safety tips and suggestions to safe guard your family from the threat of fire. The inspection typically lasts 15-20 minutes and an adult must be present during the inspection. No fines or citations are issued on residential occupancies rather we simply wish to assist you in making your home fire safe!

To conduct your own Fire Safety Inspection, use the inspection checklist listed below:

Exterior Inspection

Make house number visible from street (mailbox and house)
Trim trees away from electrical wires (professional tree service)
Trim trees away from house, gutters, roof, sheds, fences, etc
Avoid stacking fire wood next to house
Fire pits should be located a safe distance away from home and always use a metal screen cover
General Fire Safety

Install a smoke detector on each floor of the home
Install smoke detectors outside each bedroom area and inside every bedroom. Test smoke detectors twice per year
Install a carbon monoxide detector in the home if you have gas appliances or a fire place
Install a Class ABC fire extinguisher in the kitchen & garage & inspect twice per year
Create a fire escape plan & practice with the entire family
Select a meeting location outside the home for all family members to gather after leaving the home during a fire
Teach family members how to get down low and crawl out of the home to safety
Teach children how to Stop-Drop-Roll should their clothing catch on fire
Teach all family members how to dial 911 for emergencies
Heating Equipment

Keep space heaters a minimum of 3 feet from drapes, beds, clothing and all combustibles
Avoid using fuel supplied space heaters inside the home
Do not use stove/oven to heat home
Replace air/heat filters monthly
Clean lint from clothes dryer after each use
Install a spark screen in front of the fireplace
Have your chimney inspected and cleaned annually
Inspect the spark arrestor on the chimney top
Build small fires in the fireplace using commercial purchased logs. Avoid the use of pine wood
Dispose of fireplace ashes using a metal container
Unplug hair dryer, hair straighter, curling iron, etc after use
Electrical

Avoid overloading outlets
Avoid using extension cords
Use power strips with a circuit breaker and have a UL rating
Do not run power cords under rugs or carpet
Maintain air space around electrical equipment such as television, stereo equipment, etc
Breakers that trip often indicate a electrical problem occurring & and a qualified electrician should be called
Use a qualified electrician to install or repair electrical appliances, fans, lights, etc
Cooking

Never leave cooking unattended
Turn pot handles away from stove edge to avoid hot liquid burns
Use proper temperature and cooking time specified for recipe
Keep combustibles away from top of stove
Turn off valve on gas tank after grilling
Grill outdoors away from home
Garage

Allow lawn mower to cool down before storing in garage
Keep combustibles away from gas water heater
Store flammables in approved containers
Carefully store hazardous materials including flammables, lawn chemicals, pool supplies, cleaning products, automotive products, etc separated from each other
Assure all chemical products are stored in original containers & label intact
Dispose of out of date chemicals by disposing at selected hazardous waste locations
Candles & Flame

Avoid leaving candles unattended
Place candles in sturdy holders with a protective globe
Never leave the home with candles still burning
Keep lighters & matches out of the reach of children
Fire Safety at Home

We may visit your premises and undertake a fire safety audit which is usually prearranged and all fire safety inspectors will be in uniform and carry identification.

The audit is an examination of the premises and relevant documents to ascertain how the premises are being managed regarding fire safety. The inspector may also wish to talk to members of staff to confirm their level of fire safety awareness.

The emphasis is on the responsible person demonstrating they have met the duties required by the fire safety order. For this reason we may ask to see the following documents as evidence.

A suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment by a competent person
Action plans related to any significant findings of the fire risk assessment
Emergency plans for the premises (what to do in the event of a fire)
Preventative and protective measures regarding fire
Fire drills and staff fire training records (who, when, & what training)
Fire safety maintenance checklist (what is checked, by who, and when)
Staff information on fire safety and dangerous substances.
Evidence that the following have been tested by a competent person:- Fire detection and warning system; Emergency lighting; Sprinkler System; Ventilation System; Firefighting equipment; Electrical wiring in the building; Portable appliance testing.

Other information sites:

https://www.fire.qld.gov.au/communitysafety/freeprograms/safehome.asp
http://www.homefiresafetyaudit.com.au/
http://www.cityofoviedo.net/node/1145
http://www.kidsafensw.org/home-community/fire-safety/
http://www.eppingblog.com.au/home-fire-safety-audit-goes-online/
http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/smokealarms
http://www.westyorksfire.gov.uk/home-fire-safety-checks
http://www.mumsonthego.com.au/blog/is-your-home-fire-safe/
http://www.glosfire.gov.uk/csafety_ap_what.html
http://www.cfdsolution.com/firesafetymanagement.htm

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