House fires are extremely dangerous and devastating accidents which occur either due to the ignorance or absent mindedness of its dwellers. Of course it happens sometimes despite strong precautions and safety measures. But still, “prevention is better than cure”. A serious house fire can cause severe burns or even claim the lives of the people inside it. Moreover, it causes immense loss of property and money. There are different facts overlooked by most of the common people which results in a hazardous house fires. This is quite common in the houses made up of materials that catch fire easily such as wood, fiber, etc. Thus, you should take certain precautionary measures in order to avoid such accidents. Following are some essential safety tips to reduce the risk of house fires:
1. Try to use non-combustible or fire-retardant materials while building your house. Most of the house fires take a serious turn if the walls and ceiling are made of flammable materials. Avoid excess use of wood, fiber asbestos, PVC, etc. which catches fire easily. Instead, go for cement, bricks and gravels for your walls or ceiling. These are non-flammable materials which will reduce the risk of fire to a great extent.
2. Be very careful about the electrical wiring of your house. Most of the fire hazards result from electrical short circuits and sparks. The use of low quality cables for wiring is mostly responsible for such short circuits. Always use fire-retardant low smoke cables for your house wiring. Make sure that the wire terminals are insulated properly with insulation tape. Replace any burnt out plug points or switches immediately with new ones.
3. Always keep away the easily flammable belongings or furniture such as beds, sofa, cushions, etc. containing cotton, silk or synthetic fibers from the electrical plug points or power distribution boards. In case of any short circuit or electrical sparking, these are the things which catch fire easily.
4. Avoid storing excessive fuel or any highly-inflammable liquids such as methanol, petrol, diesel, kerosene, alcohol, etc. in your house. These may result in huge explosions even in the presence of a minor flame resulting in blowing up your house in seconds.
5. It is very important to install a fire quenching system in your house. It may be water sprinklers or a pump-fed powerful fire hose. Get any of these installed by a professional mechanic in your house. These systems are designed suitably to quench fires automatically by effectively sensing an abnormal rise of temperature inside the house.
6. Beware of any naked flame, may it be the gas oven or a simple candle or a kerosene lamp. Be sure that any gas fed flame is guarded by a metal guide. If you need to light up a candle, make sure you use a heavy candle stand to set it upright. It’s because, even a tilted candle on your sofa can set your house in flames.
7. Be very careful about the position of your gas cylinder in the kitchen. The height of the oven should always be higher than that of the gas cylinder. If the arrangement is vice versa, change it immediately as it may cause an explosion anytime. This is because the pressurized jet of gas from the cylinder attains an extra speed if directed downwards. This may result in the failure of the non return valve at the top of the cylinder and set the gas on fire causing a serious explosion.
8. Change the gas hose of your gas cylinder on a periodic basis. This is the pipe which connects the gas cylinder with your cooking oven. A worn out hose may have leaks causing gas to slip out and blow up your kitchen in a moment.
9. Please don’t leave any electrically operated heating element in the house such as irons, electrical heaters, etc. unattended for a long time. Modern heating systems are automated to shut off automatically if left unused for a fixed time period. But in case you are using your old iron, don’t ever leave it pressing on your clothes and go to answer a phone call. It may set fire on your cotton clothes leading to a big house fire.
10. Always keep at least 2-3 fire extinguishers ready at different points of your house (depending on the size of your house). Use can use the common carbon-dioxide type (for low temperature flames on wood, cotton, etc.) or ABC Powder (for high temperature flames on metals and fiber). Don’t forget to check your fire extinguishers quite often if they are working properly. Also go for periodic refilling and servicing checks by professionals from the fire-extinguisher company. Place the fire-extinguishers in the positions where the fire risks are the maximum e.g.- in your kitchen, near your main power distribution board, etc. Also mount them on the walls at a height which is easily accessible by all the family members of the house.
It is a known fact that accidents don’t give warnings. But it is always wise to be cautious and sensible about the risks of house fire as it causes many deaths and loss of precious properties. So always stay alert and keep the danger of house fires away.