FIREPROOF YOUR HOME
- March 31, 2017
The housewarming party was the talk of the town. From an extensive menu, to a chocolate fountain and a free flow of assorted drinks, the Maduabuchis spared no expense.
Their four bedroom home was an architectural dream- they had taken pains to hire the best professionals and artisans to ensure the project was a success. They also contracted the best furniture makers in the country to do the furnishings to their taste.
Just six months after the housewarming, their house stood in ruins. Smoke billowed from the remains of the roof, and the white washed walls had turned black. What could possibly have gone wrong?
Mabel Maduabuchi loved to cook. She had a wide knowledge of Nigerian and continental dishes, and she was known to treat family and friends to an array of delicious dishes.
She catered the housewarming event, and that was the stepping stone for her catering business. She employed two Togolese women who helped her with the cooking and cleaning. She also had a dispatch rider who delivered lunches to offices.
One day, as Mabel finished preparing lunch for her customers, she forgot to turn off the gas cooker, before rushing off to grab something from the nearby supermarket. Her workers had gone to the market to buy the food stuff for the following day’s orders.
There were a few dish cloths carelessly placed on the hob, and in a flash, they caught fire. It did not take long for the fire to spread to the over head cupboard and the pvc ceiling.
When Mabel retuned half an hour later, parts of the house were engulfed in flames. Her neighbours had already joined forces with her gate man to douse the flames with water, but the fire had spread to the living room, and two other rooms in the four bedroom bungalow.
A kind neighbour called the fire service and they arrived on the scene to put out the fire.
You might be hasty in pointing accusing fingers at poor Mrs. Maduabuchi, but domestic fire incidents can happen to anybody. Everyone is capable of neglecting simple and even not so simple things that may lead to house fires. From overloading electrical sockets to neglecting to put candles out after use, there is a plethora of causative agents that result in fire outbreaks.
The only way to avoid this is to be decidedly deliberate in taking precautions.
We will be sharing several fire prevention tips to fireproof your home. To learn more, keep reading.
#1 Check Your House
Check the condition of your home’s electrical system.
Faulty electrical wiring is as good as a fire incident waiting to happen. Be sure to check wiring systems for melting wiring and exposed or naked wiring that may spark up a flame. This is an important step to take avoid unpleasant surprises.
Tip: Please be careful when checking the electrical system, to avoid electrocution.
Check the gas systems regularly
If you use a gas unit for cooking in the home, it is important to check the cooker from time to time. Check for leaks in the hose connecting the hob to the gas cylinder. Do not forget to check the cylinder itself for leaks, as a small leak in the cylinder can have disastrous effects. Endeavour to fix all faulty components of the gas unit as soon as possible. Prevention is always safer than cure.
Check the air conditioning units
Nigeria is in the heart of the tropics, so the weather is unbearably hot and humid at certain periods in the year. This makes air conditioners a popular choice among those who can afford same. However, air conditioners are known to spark up and catch fire due to faulty wiring, extreme power surges, and other causes. Hence, it is important to check the air conditioners regularly to prevent such accidents in the home. It would not hurt to purchase an ac guard, which functions as a power stabilizer for air conditioning units.
#2 Ensuring safe use of electrical appliances
This sounds self explanatory, right? When using household appliances, such as a pressing iron, microwave oven and other electrical appliances not limited to heating elements, it is important to exercise great caution to avoid fire incidents. Unplug appliances after use and switch them off properly. Also keep children and inexperienced users away from such appliances.
#3 Kitchen safety
Keep flammable liquids away from ignition sources
Fuel, diesel, insecticides and other flammable liquids should be kept away from ignition sources. The hob, stove or hot plate should not come into contact with flammable liquids. also matches, lighters and candles should be kept away from such liquids to avoid fire in the kitchen. Finally, after igniting the gas cooker or stove, put out the match properly by dipping it in water.
Ensure cloths and towels are not left near the hob
The Maduabuchis’ home was damaged by fire as a result of this seemingly small mistake. To prevent this from happening to you, please keep cloths, towels and rags away from the hob. Instead, get or make a towel rack for keeping dish cloths in the kitchen.
Supervise children in the kitchen
Keep children away from the hob or the stove. Also, take care to supervise children while they perform chores in the kitchen. Educate them about fire prevention and safety and keep them away from matches and lighters, as children as known to play games with flames.
Use kitchen appliances and devices with care
Electrical appliances in the kitchen are to be used with care. Also, wipe all spills to avoid liquids from coming into close contact with electrical appliances- a naked wire plus liquid will result in a spark. Turn off all appliances after use, and always check such appliances regularly for faults (See #1 and #2).
#4 Take Care in Daily Activities
A note to smokers
It is ill advised to smoke while in bed, as one may forget to put the cigarette out before going to sleep. If you must smoke, do it outside the house, and extinguish the cigarette properly after use, to prevent fire accidents.
If you must use a candle, place it on a sturdy candle stand, to avoid accidents. Also, put out the candle after use, and do not go to sleep while a candle is burning. This applies to scented candles, decorative candles, and utility candles.
Mobile devices and chargers
Use mobile devices and chargers with great care. Do not overload sockets and dispose of chargers with exposed or faulty wiring. Keep mobile devices and computers off the bed while they are charging and connected to power outlets.
#5 Fire Prevention/ Control Tools
Fire prevention tools such as smoke detectors, smoke extractors and fire control tools such as large hoses, fire blankets and extinguishers should be kept in the home as a preventive and control measure rolled in one. Fire drills should also be practiced in the home to prepare for such incidents. For more information on fire drills, and how they are preformed, consult books and the internet.
There you have it, a collection of tips to prevent fire outbreaks in the home. These tips do not apply to the home alone, they can be tailored to offices and other public and private spaces. The most important point is to practice fire safety, and teach others to do the same. Knowledge is power.