Every year 46 people die in the Republic of Ireland as a result of fire. Over 1,000 are seriously injured from smoke inhalation and burns and millions of euro’s worth of damage is caused. Sadly, most of these incidents could have been avoided given a basic level of fire safety awareness.
A fire in the home can have horrific consequences including death or serious injury, psychological trauma and financial and sentimental loss. The advice set out below will help you to avoid and fire and let you know how to react if one does occur.
In the Kitchen:
1. Always stay in the kitchen while you are cooking.
2. Keep anything that can burn, such as tea-towels, paper or plastic bags, and curtains at least 3 feet away from the hob top.
3. Before cooking, roll up your sleeves and use oven gloves. Loose fitting clothes are the cause of many kitchen fires and accidents.
4. Always stay by the BBQ when in use and keep children and pets away. The BBQ will remain hot for a long time after use. Place your BBQ at least 10 feet away from the house, shrubs and sheds.
Matches and Lighters:
1. Many young children are badly injured or worse from playing with matches or lighters every year.
2. Store matches and lighter in a locked cabinet or out of reach of children.
3. Always buy child proof lighters.
4. Be conscious of lighters or matches in your coat or bag; keep them out of reach of children.
Fire Places and Heaters:
- Space/electric/fan heaters need plenty of room. Keep them at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn, such as furniture or newspapers. Always turn heaters off before leaving the room or going to bed.
- Furnaces/Stoves need to be maintained. Have them inspected and cleaned at least once a year.
- Fireplaces are a common feature in almost all homes. Keep anything flammable well away from the fire place and keep a fire guard in place at all times.
- Always check your fire before going to bed and ensure that the fire guard is securely in place.
- When cleaning out your fire, NEVER, put the ashes in the house hold bin, embers may still be burning within the ash.
- Endeavour to smoke outside as often as possible, try to avoid smoking inside the house.
- Use large, deep ashtrays that are on a steady surface like a table.
- Douse cigarette butts in water before putting them in the bin.
- NEVER smoke in bed.
- Only light candles if an adult is in the room.
- NEVER allow children to keep candles or incense in their rooms.
- Use stable candle holders made of inflammable materials such as metal or glass.
- Always blow out candles when leaving the room.
- Be very cautious when handling any flammable materials. Be aware of fumes and vapors from flammable liquids as these may combust from the tiniest of sparks.
- Use the approved containers for storing any flammable liquid and store in an outside shed in a locked cupboard.
- NEVER bring petrol or diesel indoors.
Keep Your Family Safe:
- Draw up a fire escape plan, with 2 exits from every room (door & window), a meeting point outside and practice twice a year. It is a small task with major benefits.
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, near or inside every bedroom. Test them monthly and replace the batteries once a year.
- Learn how to use a fire extinguisher and have one in your home.
For more information on fire safety in your home download this booklet from the Department of the Environment – http://www.environ.ie/en/LocalGovernment/FireSafety/PublicationsDocuments/FileDownLoad,16527,en.pdf