A household fire is one of scariest things that you can experience. Coming into the winter months, the risk of fire is on a lot of our minds because we’re utilising our open fires and stoves more frequently. In Ireland in 2019, the fire brigade was called to 20,756 fires alone. The risk of fire is something that we don’t want to think about but it’s something that must be considered. In tandem with taking out effective home insurance cover, there are a number of steps you can take to ensure that your home is as fireproofed as possible.
1.Use flame retardant materials when building.
It’s good to start with the basics, if you’re in the process of building or renovating your home it’s essential to start fire proofing from the beginning. It’s a good idea to consider flame retardant materials when you are sourcing supplies for your house. You can also source more fire-proof materials if you are simply refurbishing or renovating your home.
Consider using concrete panels or brick for the exterior walls. While timber frame homes are widely regarded as cheaper, they also pose more of a risk if they catch fire. When it comes to window frames and roofing materials, you’re also better off to contemplate concrete or metal choices as they’re less susceptible to flames.
While these structural elements are a great way to protect the exterior of your home, there’s also basic materials you can use on the interior of your house during building or renovation. Fire retardant paint is another smart option. You can purchase fire paint and lacquers quite easily and some suppliers like Offaly based Flame Pro Coatings will colour match to your requirements, so what’s not to love?
2.Ensure you have fire extinguishers.
It might seem simple, but it’s surprising how many homes do not possess a functioning fire extinguisher. Having a fire extinguisher could be the sole difference between having a small oven mishap or a full-scale fire in your kitchen.
You should have a fire extinguisher on every floor of your house. The typical places for storing an extinguisher would be firstly in your kitchen and then near your bedrooms. Kitchens are often the primary location of grease and grease is highly flammable. So naturally, it’s a good idea to mount a fire extinguisher to your wall in your kitchen. However, it’s vital to remember not to place your extinguisher directly adjacent to your kitchen stove/range or anywhere that flames could directly reach it. Your fire extinguisher can handle very high heats without bursting but it’s still better to keep it away from direct flame.
It important to have a fire extinguisher near your bedrooms too, in case a fire breaks out at night. You want to be able to easily access it in the event of an emergency.
3.Install smoke alarms and check them regularly.
Smoke alarms are a vital addition to your home as they provide an early warning of fire. The more traditional smoke alarms start to beep at the first onset of smoke and the more modern smart alarms do the same, while also sending an alert to your phone.
It’s not enough to have one or two smoke alarms in your house, however. In order to be 100% compliant with fire safety and regulations, the average Irish home should have at least 4 smoke alarms present. Larger dwellings should possess additional ones. One smoke alarm should be placed near the doors to bedrooms as fires often occur at night. Another smoke alarm should always be placed in a kitchen with an additional one anywhere you think there is an increased risk of fire.
How often should you check your smoke alarms?
Remembering to install fire alarms is one thing but remembering to check them regularly is another. However, it’s super important to implement a regular schedule for spot checking your fire alarms. The majority of smoke alarms have a fitted test button, so you should be pressing it once a week in order to check that it’s working properly.
If you’re wondering how long batteries will last there is a standard guide. Regular batteries should last for approximately a year,while long life batteries will last you a number of years. However, despite the batteries that you have used in your smoke alarm, you should still be testing it weekly.
4.Invest in fire doors.
When a fire starts in the home, it can spread easily and in a very short amount of time. Entire rooms for example can be engulfed in under 15 minutes. Smoke and fire damage however, can be drastically reduced by the presence of fire-proof doors. A typical fire door will prevent flames and heat from entering a room for between 30-60 minutes. This time frame is important because it allows the occupant of the room to source an exit or make an emergency phone call.
While fire doors aren’t mandatory in non-commercial residences in Ireland they are fantastic additions when it comes to protecting your home, it’s contents and most importantly it’s occupants.
5.Don’t forget the garden.
A fire that starts outside can just as easily cause as much damage to your home as one that started inside. It’s important to ensure that the path leading to your house from any outdoor flammable source is as clear as possible all year round.
During the spring season, clear away any dry vegetation from around your home. Sometimes large clumps of leaves can gather in pockets around the garden. While chances of fire might be lower outside, this time of year is a favourable time for rogue fireworks and bonfires, so it’s best to keep your garden free of vegetation.
Use hard landscaping around your home as opposed to timber, where possible. Stone and gravel are great alternatives to wooden cladding or decking in the garden and they’re far less flammable.
Fires happen and while we never think they’re going to happen to us, sometimes they do. It’s very important to take the necessary precautions when it comes to protecting your home. If you’re shrewd with fire proofing, it could also have a very positive impact on your home insurance premium.
If you’re on the hunt for home insurance, then why not reach out to www.insuremyhouse.ie?