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Thursday
Sep092010

Fire Safety

Fire Safety In Your Home

About 50 people die each year because of preventable fires in the home. Every fire has a cause and most often, there's a common-sense simple method of prevention. Careless attention to fireplaces, heaters smoking and cooking equipment are leading causes of fire-death and injury. Remember, the age groups most at risk are the under 12's and over 60's.


Let's Start with Three Golden Rules:

1. Plan and practice an escape drill with your family.
2. Install smoke alarms to give you an early warning.
3. Survey your home to make sure it is fire safe.


Smoke Alarms

Smoke Alarms - Install and Test
Most fires happen at night while people are asleep.  When there's a fire, smoke will actually put sleeping people into a deeper sleep, it will not wake them.  By installing smoke alarms you will have early warning devices which give you time to act before you and your family are overcome by dangerous smoke and fumes. 
  • The average smoke alarm costs around €7, a small price to pay for peace of mind.
  • A long duration smoke alarm with a 10 year (lithium) battery is particularly recommended, as it avoids the need for regular battery replacement. 
  • When buying a smoke alarm ensure that it conforms to one of the following standards: Irish Standard IS 409 of 1998 OR British Standard BS 5446 (Part 1 and have the British Kite mark).
  • Two smoke alarms, properly located on the ceiling with one on each level, should suit the average home. Larger homes will require more. 
  • Always follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding the positioning of smoke alarms.
  • They should be tested, once a week, to ensure they are in good working order.
  • If the alarm fails to sound check the battery.
  • Keep them clean and they should last five to eight years.
  • If your smoke alarm starts making a ‘chirping' noise, replace the batteries and reset it.
  • Finally, if your smoke alarm sounds never assume it's a false alarm! - always act immediately. Better to be safe than sorry.

Living and Family Rooms

  • If you allow smoking in the house, provide large,stable ashtrays.  A burning cigarette end can smoulder for hours before igniting and spreading.
  • Are matches and lighters out of children's reach?
  • Make sure you have an effective spark guard at open fires especially before you go to bed and when children are about. Clean chimneys at least twice a year.  Remember don't leave newspapers, clothes or combustible materials too close to a fire or heater.
  • Check all electrical leads and plugs for deterioration, burning or fraying.  Make sure there are no over loaded sockets. Switch off and unplug all appliances when not in use.
  • Portable heaters should be treated with care. All gas and electric models require special attention and handling. Do you know of any special instructions for their use?  Keep all flammable materials at a safe distance.