Fire: what to do in your home

Fire: what to do in your home

Fire is not only hot but fast too. In five minutes, it can destroy your home. A small flame turns into a bigger flame with heat temperatures reaching 600 degrees. 

Smoke and toxic gases from the fire can kill the people in your home. The gases make you feel disorientated and drowsy. 

Lifehack says that prevention is the first step in all instances. As a homeowner, you want to do whatever you can to avert severe damages.

Below are some tips and tricks can come in handy if a house fire occurs. 

Alert people in the house

If you are the first person to detect open flames in your house, inform other people in the house immediately. You can do this by screaming loudly. Smoke detectors and alarms usually assist too, but they can malfunction as well. Hopefully, you can all escape the fire before it gets to the point of no return.

Grab the fire extinguisher

A fire extinguisher is the first item you can grab if you smell a fire or your fire alarm goes off. An extinguisher may help to curb a fire immediately. However, if the fire continues to grow, stop what you are doing and leave the scene. 

PASS is a reminder of how to use an extinguisher – pull the pin, aim at the foundation of the flames, squeeze the handle and spray from side to side until the fire is out. 

Fire extinguishers should be installed in every house. It can save your life and the lives of others. 

Crawl beneath flames and check for heat from doors and doorknobs

Smoke and its poisonous gases can feel lightheaded or loss of consciousness. To prevent this from happening, crawl low down to your nearest exit. You can avoid smoke and toxic gases if you stay on the ground. 

If a door is an exit point, check if it is hot first. If the door or its handle is hot, there is a possibility that a raging fire is on the other side. Do not go through that door. Even if you see fire and smoke when you open a door, rather find a second exit. 

There is a chance that you may not find an exit. If this happens, close the door; cover any vents and cracks around the door. You can use cloth or tape to do this. 

Call the fire department.

  • Once you get outside your house, call the fire department. It is not the best idea to look for your phone if your house is on fire. Use the phone of a neighbour or passer-by. If your pets are trapped in the house still, let the firefighters know.
  • If you cannot exit your house, call the fire department from your phone. Tell them where you are and when they arrive, signal them with a torch or something bright. 
  • At any point, while you are waiting for the fire department and your clothes catch fire, immediately stop, drop and roll. Stop wherever you are and drop to the floor. By rolling around, you can extinguish the flames. Cover your face while you roll. It is another way to protect yourself from getting burnt. 

After the fire

  • You may need temporary housing, food or medicine after a fire. Get in touch with a local disaster relief service.
  • When the fire is out, ask the fire department if it is safe to re-enter your home. Do an inventory of the property and items that were damaged. 
  • Ask the fire department to reconnect your utilities. They will know if the utilities are safe to use again or stay disconnected. 
  • Save your receipts, especially if you spent money on items ruined in the fire. The receipts can go to the insurance company to verify any losses claimed on your income tax. 
  • Contact your mortgage company. Tell them about the fire. 

Home fires can be prevented.

Fire protection is best done by preventing fires in the first place. You can take small steps to ensure that your house is safe for you and the ones you love. 

Although candles are pretty and smell nice, consider switching to LED candles instead. Try not to smoke indoors, and don’t ignore frayed wires. Teach your children the dangers of using matches and lighters.

Fire extinguishers and escape ladders are recognised as emergency equipment. Keep one of each on every floor of your house in case one breaks out. 

Make sure that your smoke alarms are checked once a month. Sometimes the batteries die, and the detectors become faulty. Regular checks can prevent this from happening. A home security system with integrated fire protection is helpful, and your family will feel safe.

Fire prevention is a top priority, and you should do as much as possible to keep it that way so that you and your family have peace of mind. 

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