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How to Get Your Home Fire Ready in Time for Christmas

Christmas Giveth and Christmas Can Taketh Away..

As Christmas approaches our thoughts on very little else but the upcoming festivities; the gifts we have yet to purchase, the modifications we have to make to our homes to ensure they are satisfactorily adorned with festive cheer (in the form of tinsel and twinkly lights) and of course, the all-important planning and preparations for the most important gathering of the year.

It is not surprising therefore that some of our everyday duties are shunned to the back of our minds during the winter months; we all know how manic December can be, and it would be foolish to suggest that your priorities could or should lie elsewhere. But what with the increased workload and high levels of stress we encounter, topped off with all of the rushing about we tend to do during this time, it is more paramount than ever that we take the correct fire safety precautions.

Statistics 

According to statistics, the number of injuries and deaths from accidental fires mainly bushfires, are at their peak in the months of December and January. However figures show that a high number of people are still likely to be injured in a house or building fire related incident over Christmas, and more than 4000 people a year need hospital treatment for injuries, over the festive season. This dramatic surge can be attributed to the distractions of a crowded household as well as the addition of fire hazards cunningly disguised as festive decorations we unwittingly adorn our homes with every year.

To ensure your Christmas stays Merry, we have compiled a list of fire safety precautions you should be taking within your home:

Fire doors

Consider a sturdy fire door for your property’s entrances and exits; your front door for example is an excellent choice, particularly if the kitchen is located within the vicinity. If a fire occurs, an approved fire safety door will prevent the spread of fire for an adequate amount of time for your occupants to vacate the area. If you have fire doors separating other rooms within your home, ensure never to keep them propped open unless they are fitted with an automatic door closer – otherwise their presence is pointless.

Fire exits

Fire escapes are particularly important within high buildings or ones in which you would have difficulty in escaping from through a window during an emergency. In properties such as these there should be a back-exit fire escape attached to the rear of the building, enabling occupants to climb out of a window or door and down the escape to safety. Although this point will not be applicable to many homeowners, it is a very important consideration for those of you living in a block of flats or an apartment building.

In all situations it is imperative that you have clear, unblocked fire exits and a planned escape route within your home, especially if you have a large household or frequently play host to large parties of guests. If you have not implemented one yet, it is strongly recommended that you do so; pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes – mark two ways out of each room, and check regularly to ensure the anointed escape routes are kept clear and doors and windows can be opened easily.

Fire alarms

The first question you need to ask yourself is whether there are enough fire alarms within hearing distance throughout your property. In the past there have been incidents reported whereby occupants of a property were unable to escape due to the fact that the fire alarms were too far to wake the sleeper up and alert them of the emergency – this is an important consideration if you are welcoming guests to stay in what are usually unoccupied rooms within your home over the Christmas period.

In addition, ensure that you test your smoke detectors and fire alarms regularly to guarantee that they will alert you in an emergency; it is recommended that you change the batteries in these devices each year and replace the whole unit every ten years.

Deaf fire alarms

If a member of your family or a guest within your home is deaf or hard of hearing, you might consider looking into fire alarms for the deaf. As these individuals will be unable to hear conventional alarms in an emergency, you may want to consider investing in a vibrating alarm instead – again, this is especially important if you have friends or relations to stay over the festive season.

Happy and Fire Safe Christmas 

Alex

 

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