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  • Writer's pictureGaynor Lowndes

Fire Safety In The Home

House fires can be extremely hazardous and this is even more so where people with limited mobility such as the aged or disabled are involved. Due to their limited ability to help themselves, it is very important that every safety precaution is taken to prevent avoidable calamities such as a fire in the home.

When caring for loved ones who may be physically, mentally or developmentally challenged, fire safety may not be one of the first things that comes to mind when thinking of the things that need to be done to make their lives easier. But proper fire safety measures could quite literally be a matter of life and death, therefore we would like to encourage you to bear the following in mind: 

1.Have a Plan It is important that both adults and children are informed about proper fire safety techniques. They should be taught how to call for help in case of fire, what to do in case their clothes catches fire, and how to get out of a burning building, where possible. Of course, for a person with limited mobility, prompt access to them by a caregiver is important, and so should be a part of your fire safety plan.  Come up with an escape plan and rehearse it frequently to prepare everyone in case of fire.

2.Fire Safety Tools Being cautious and prepared for hazards is one of the easiest ways of preventing fires at home. Have the right fire safety tools like smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in place, so as to keep your family safe from a major catastrophe. Check smoke detectors on a monthly basis. Keep fire hazards such as lighters and matches out of children’s reach and train every member of your family on how to dial emergency numbers and use a fire extinguisher.

3.Cook Safely In The Kitchen A third of all house fires are estimated to start in the kitchen, usually because of carelessness associated with cooking such as being distracted or leaving cooking unattended. Whether electric or gas operated, kitchen appliances usually have the potential to start a fire. Some great tips to bear in mind:

- Avoiding cooking when under the influence of alcohol as this may alter your judgment.

- Children should not be left alone in the kitchen when cooking and double check the cooker to ensure it is off when done.

- Electrics should be kept away from water. Ensure that the plugs, wires, and cords are not worn out.

- Wear appropriate clothing when cooking.

- Never leave a burning candle unattended in the kitchen (or anywhere else in the house). If you must do so, place it in a flameproof container.

- Ensure you have a fire extinguisher is in or near the kitchen.

4.Electrical Safety Many fires caused by electrical failures can be prevented by following the electric safety guidelines.

- Always ensure that you use the correct fuse to prevent overheating. Call a qualified electrician in the event of outlet or switch warming.

- Keep to one plug per socket to prevent overloading. Appliances such as washing machines, cookers, and fridges must have a single plug because they are high powered.

- Manufacturers’ instructions should be followed while charging electrical goods.

- All loose electrical cords should be repaired or replaced.

- When using extension sockets, ensure that they are located at the right place in the room. Cords should not cross doorways or under carpets, as not only can they start fires, they are also tripping hazards that can lead to injury.

5.Candles and Cigarettes ​To avoid starting a fire from a candle, ensure candles are secured in an appropriate holder, and kept away from materials that can easily catch fire. Keep your pets away from lit candles and blow out the candles when vacating the room. Cigarettes can be very dangerous when handled carelessly. If there are any smokers in the home, ensure they are aware of proper fire safety rules. Smoking in bed should be strictly avoided. Smokers should make use of appropriate ashtrays and not a waste paper basket or bin. They should never leave behind a lit cigarette to lie around because it can easily fall off and start a fire. All clients should smoke outside whilst our workers are present in the home. House fires are a very real danger and it is important to include fire safety measures into any care plan for sick or disabled loved ones. When working with a new client, ensure that you and the client have discussed fire safety and have an exit plan. Know where the fire extinguisher is and what to do in an emergency.


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