Mike Lightbourn's Bahama Advice Column
Is Your Home Fire Safe?
2017-10-13 13:40:34 by Mike Lightbourn
If your home catches fire, itís estimated you only have two minutes to get out before you risk being trapped in the flames.
It can take just five minutes for a fire to consume an entire home. So every second counts.
October is Fire Safety Month. Letís take stock of what we can do to protect our most valuable possessions Ė our family and our homes.
The most important thing to remember is to never leave young children home alone Ė not even for a few minutes.
We have read too many tragic stories about unattended children who have died in home fires.
Every home, even the most humble, should have at least one smoke detector and a working fire extinguisher.
Fire Safety Month is a reminder to homeowners to check smoke detector batteries.
Fire extinguishers need to be checked periodically to make sure they are in working order. Itís important to consult a professional to make sure you buy the right equipment and you know how to use it.
Itís extremely important to have at least one escape route in the event of a fire and to hold regular fire drills with your family.
Sto Dro Roll
Go over the simple Stop Drop Roll fire safety technique with your children.
This teaches them how to put out fire on clothing or hair and helps to avoid panic.
Use a Stop Drop Roll colouring sheet after practising the technique to reinforce what theyíve learned. Make it into a neighbourhood or school event, or sponsor a Stop Drop and Roll childrenís party.
Show a child-friendly video on fire safety Dos and Doníts.
Teach your children about the danger of using matches.
Tips When Buying a Home
If you live in an older home, itís important to know the condition of the electrical wiring
The insulation on many first generation PVC cables Ė used to wire a lot of homes in the Ď60s - has a tendency to dry rot and crumble after 30 or more years.
This can result in short circuits. If not properly fused or breaker protected, it can cause fire.
Home buyers and home owners, particularly of older buildings, should have a current survey report by a reputable licensed electrical contractor. It should state the condition of the homeís electrical system, complete with any recommendations for repairs or upgrades.
Repairs and upgrades can be expensive, so it is good toknow what youíre dealing with.
When moving into a new home, plan an escape route in the event of a fire. If you donít have one in your current home, make one!
If your home is outfitted with burglar bars or security screens, make sure some of them are hinged and can swing open. The escape ďhatchesĒ will typically be padlocked, but the key should be kept in a designated spot within reach.
Do a trial escape run NOW and practise every year.
The Top Cause
Cooking is the leading cause of home fires.
Do not use water on a grease fire. Water will spread the oil/grease and make it worse.
Use only a fire extinguisher (class B) or baking soda.
Never leave an active stove unattended. Fires only need 30 seconds to spread out of control.
Keep everything off hot surfaces and away from flames. For instance, donít leave a kitchen mitt or dish towel near the stove.
Keep the grill at least 10 feet from vegetation and the house.
Smoking is another common cause for fire.
Avoid smoking indoors and make sure you completely stub out butts in an ashtray or a can filled with sand.
NEVER smoke in bed. Some mattresses are highly combustible.
This is especially true if youíre sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken meds that make you drowsy.
Do your lungs a favour and put out your cigarette permanently.
Practicing fire safety requires diligence, but it is a small price to pay to safeguard against tragedy.
Questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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(Mike Lightbourn is president of Coldwell Banker Lightbourn Realty)
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