Are you at home with Fire Protection?
November 5, 2008barriehol
It is surprising to realise how many people hold some fundamental misconceptions about providing fire safety in the home given that making the right choices can make the difference between an inconvenient accident and a life changing tragedy.
At one extreme is the customer who called to order two 1.8 x 1.8 metre fire blankets. It is a part of our customer service at Fire and Safety Centre to try to ensure the customer receives the safety products best suited and most cost effective to the risk being covered. If there is any doubt we ask the question why? For the home a single 1m or 1.2m square fire blanket will normally suffice to smother chip pan fires and small paper or wood fires for example in waste bins. In this case when asked why the need for two large blankets the customer was quite sure that one fire blanket would not be large enough to cover the whole of the bed!!
A more practical misconception is that a water fire extinguisher provides catch all protection against fire. In practice water is only effective on solid flammable materials for example paper, wood, coal and fabrics. It is downright dangerous to use water on flammable liquid fires, electrical fires and in particular chip pan fires. It is therefore important to understand the different Classes of fire, details of which can be found in the product descriptions and online Advice centre at www.fireandsafetycentre.co.uk. Each fire extinguisher also has details printed on the canister explaining the types of fire it is designed to extinguish and how to use it.
To provide an adequate level of fire protection in the home we would advise a package of products that included both preventative and combative measures. First fit a smoke alarm, our battery powered Ionisation technology smoke detector can be fitted in minutes and at just £6.99+ vat it’s the least cost life safety installation you can make. In fact at this price why not fit two – one adjacent (but not in) the kitchen and one on the landing. Beware buying a really cheap detector by making sure it carries the BS5446 Kitemark. If your home has a solid fuel heating system fit a Carbon Monoxide detector adjacent the boiler. They are a little more expensive than smoke alarms but as CO gas is odourless and colourless it can kill by stealth. We also offer a very inexpensive self adhesive detector pad that changes colour to signal the presence of Carbon Monoxide.
Next a fire blanket – but not for on the bed!! Our economy fire blanket can be easily stored in a convenient cupboard adjacent the cooker ready to deploy in seconds to smother a burning pan or small developing fire. When it comes to choosing a fire extinguisher the most versatile solution is ABC Dry Powder. A 2kg Dry Powder extinguisher is under £15 ex VAT and will control small fires involving flammable solids (Class A), flammable liquids (Class B) and gases (Class C) and is also safe to use on fires involving electricity. Computer users should note that in the event of fire the Dry Powder residue can cause irreparable damage to sensitive electronics so if in doubt back up with a 2Kg Carbon Dioxide fire extinguisher to safeguard your state of the art gaming computer!!
Finally be vigilant and take sensible precautions to avoid fires. Switch off and unplug unused appliances, don’t store flammables adjacent sources of heat, make sure your boiler vent is clear of obstruction, don’t overfill your chip pan, discard cigarettes in flame proof containers, keep matches and lighters out of reach of inquisitive children and have a fire action and escape plan for your home –and make sure to tell the kids about it. And above all if a fire occurs make getting everyone to safety your first priority.