Starting on October 5th, National Fire Safety Week is a campaign which aims to raise awareness of the dangers of fire and enhance fire safety, particularly in the home. This year’s theme is “Smoke Alarms Save Lives”.
Ahead of the campaign’s launch, Mr. Patrick Hunt, SACFO, Westmeath Fire and Rescue Service, shares with GCN some fire safety info and tips to keep you and those you love safe from fire.
Why are fire alarms extremely important?
There’s a widely held belief that if your home catches fire, the smell of smoke will wake you up. Nothing could be further from the truth as inhaling smoke and other toxic gases can put you in a deeper sleep. Brain death occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen for a little as three minutes.
A working smoke alarm buys you time by alerting you to the presence of smoke and giving you a chance to escape from injury and potentially death. If you haven’t got a working smoke alarm, consider fitting one today. If you have a smoke alarm then please check it to make sure its in good working order (smoke alarms may be tested by pressing the test button with the handle tip of a floor brush).
Which are the most common areas/sources of domestic fires?
The two main areas of the home where fires occur are in the living room and kitchen however there has been a growing trend in bedroom fires. The sources of these bedroom fires have been identified as coming from hair-styling tools, while still hot, being left close to bedlinen and carpets, resulting in fire.
The second source, which is becoming more prevalent, is from smart phones and tablets being charged overnight, resulting in the device overheating and subsequently fire.
What can you do to keep you and those you love safe from fire?
You can make simple changes in your routine that can significantly reduce the risk of fire in your home. Keeping candles away from windows and curtains and extinguishing candles when leaving the room is one way to keep you and your loved ones safe.
Checking electrical appliances to make sure that the electrical cables are in good condition and not overloading sockets is another simple step to prevent fire occurring. Switching off televisions etc at the end of the night is also advisable – did you know that when a device is in “stand-by” mode it’s still consuming 25% of the energy it would use if it was fully operational.
Finally the simplest fire safety tip is to close doors into the kitchen/living area at night. Closed doors can reduce fire growth, limit damage to your home, keep temperatures down, and may even save your life. For more info, you can also check out the “Close before you doze” campaign to see just how effective this can be.
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