Ok, so spring has just sprung, but summer is on the way, bringing with it backyard barbeques, the silly season and a higher risk of fire.
But it doesn’t matter what the time of year, it just makes good sense to be extra vigilant about fire safety.
“To be prepared, householders should assess their premises for potential fire hazards and ensure their homes are fitted with adequate fire protection equipment,” says Dave Hipkins, national technical manager
“This can help protect families and property from the catastrophic consequences of fire.”
Working smoke alarms are a crucial line of defence for every home. It is recommended that smoke alarms are positioned near sleeping areas, and one installed on each storey of the home.
Householders are also reminded to check that smoke alarms are in proper working order by pressing the test button, and to regularly replace batteries.
“A smoke alarm can detect fire early and alert occupants to danger, giving them the precious extra time needed to escape. Early detection can help to mitigate the damage and cost caused by an uncontrolled fire,” he says.
Fire blankets and fire extinguishers are also important tools for protecting the home and should be easily accessible. Householders should be mindful of the various fire extinguishers available, and ensure they install the most appropriate extinguisher for their home or premises. It is recommended that every home is fitted with a multi-purpose dry powder extinguisher.
Dave warns it is not sufficient to simply install fire protection equipment, occupants must know how to use it. “Everyone in the house should be aware of where the fire protection equipment is located and how to operate it.
“In the event of a fire, occupants will need to act quickly and being prepared may mean the difference between life and death.”
Fire protection equipment
• Ensure smoke alarms are installed and in proper working order
• Equip the home with appropriate fire extinguishers and fire blankets, placed in accessible locations.
Barbeques and outdoor fires
• Be aware of fire restrictions and bans in your area, and ensure you comply with these
• Monitor barbeques while lit. Once finished, turn off the gas cylinder and let the remaining gas in the pipe run through the barbeque before shutting it off
• If a gas leak occurs, shut off the cylinder immediately and allow any gas to dissipate
• Make sure a coal or wood fire is completely out before you leave it. Douse the fire in water if required
• Allow hot ashes or coals to cool for 48 hours before removing them.