Do you know that about 1148 civilian home fire fatalities have been reported by U.S. news media within the first half of 2016? Residential building fire is rampant hence, your total commitment to fire safety precautions should not be compromised. Anyone can be a victim of residential building fire but careless people are more prone to experiencing it.
Residential building fire accidents are unpredictable and it’s one of those accidents with long lasting devastating effects.. It’s very important you equip yourself with enough information on how to guard against its occurrence in your home. Also, make sure you extend same precautionary measures to your office and any other place you could think of.
In this article, I will try as much as I can to mention some of the many causes of fire incidences and at the same time provide enough fire safety tips. It is not enough to talk about fire prevention hence, will also tell you how to contain residential building fire if it eventually breaks out
Major Causes of Residential Building Fire
There are different causes of residential fire and without wasting your time, let me get straight to the point.
This is reported to be the number one cause of house fire in the US. According to information released by U.S. Fire Administration, over 49% of home fire starts from kitchen. In other words, about one half of all fire incidents occurred due to some forms of negligence.
You can do away with smoking and candle but it’s almost impossible to do away with cooking. This is possibly why kitchen fire is leading the park in fire incidents.
Just before I talk about how to prevent this type of fire, let me first of all mention some possible causes. One of them is if you choose to watch your favourite movie while cooking and another one is if you choose to cook when tired. Also, failure to put out fire when you are done cooking is another avoidable human errors.
This doesn’t mean that human negligence is the cause of all cooking fires as there are other factors such as electrical equipment malfunctioning and gas leakage. You should not in any way ignore any of them.
Residential Building Fire Safety Precautions While Cooking
If most kitchen fire incidents could be traced to one form of negligence or the other, it means they are preventable. All you’ve got to do is to apply some cautions. Below are some of the few safety precautions that are good enough for kitchen fire prevention.
Always keep your eyes on whatever you are cooking. This is attainable by cultivating the habit of not leaving your house when you are still cooking. Going out while cooking is risky reason being that you could get distracted and forget what is on fire.
Avoid cooking when watching your favourite movie
Cooking while watching your favourite movie or TV show is very dangerous. You’ll surely forget what’s on fire in the middle of a thriller. If the need arise for you to leave the kitchen, turn off your stove or microwave oven.
Tidy up fire areas.
Keep combustible items such as paper, towels and any other flammable items away from fire area. Be sure those items are not left to be flying around in your kitchen.
Avoid cooking when you are tired.
The tendency to sleep off when you are tired is very high hence, the need to avoid cooking in such moments. It is even more dangerous as you risk being caught up by fire in the middle of your sleep.
Carry Out Routine check on electrical appliances.
Give your electrical appliances routine checks and ensure they are repaired or serviced by trained professionals. This would go a long way in reducing hazards associated with electrical appliance malfunctioning
Guide that teenager.
Every teenager loves adventure and one of the things they would like to know is cooking. Do everything within your reach to ensure he/she understands what kitchen fire safety is all about before allowing her to cook alone.
Put out fire when you are done cooking
Ensure fire is completely out when you are done cooking.
It’s advisable to you have a fire extinguisher ready at all times. Most kitchen fires starts from your small pan and getting a fire blanket cost you little compare to what you are likely going to lose should your kitchen fire escalate.
Buy high quality electrical appliance.
Do not just buy electrical appliance because they are cute and beautiful but always go for ones that are of high quality. Less quality appliances don’t have the capacity to withstand minor electrical surge. The]y tend to create room for electrical spark which could degenerate into major fire disaster.
How To Respond To Kitchen Fire Outbreak
Residential building fire is unpredictable and that is why you must prepare yourself against its outbreak. How do you intend to contain it when precautionary measures fail? You can always salvage the situation by doing any of the following.
Your Safety first:
Before you think of your property, think of your safety and that of everyone in the house. Make sure everyone including you is safe. Think of exiting the house as soon as you can.
Alert all occupants:
If you are living in an apartment, ensure you alert all occupants of the impending danger via alarm. There is no point trying to extinguish fire when if you haven’t notified other occupants of the looming hazard.
Use the right fire extinguisher:
The class of fire in your kitchen is what determines the type of extinguisher required. If it’s class K fire, either fire blanket or wet chemical fire extinguisher is most ideal. Please note that fire blanket is usually for pan fires that haven’t gotten out of hand.
You can find which fire extinguisher is suitable for which fire class in my ultimate guide on fire extinguisher.
Avoid pouring water on grease fire:
If you don’t have fire extinguisher, do not pour water on oil or grease fire as such action would give the fire more strength. When you find yourself in such situation and the fire is still within your pot, all you need do is put a lid on it for few minutes.
Do not make attempt to carry a burning pot:
Any attempt to take the pot out of the house while fire is still burning is very risky. You may end up doing yourself more harm than you ever imagined. Follow previous instructions and you will be safe.
Switch off the power source:
If you are sure the fire still permits you to switch off your microwave oven or other electrical appliances, go ahead and do that before applying the right fire extinguisher. Check out some safety tips on what to do when working with electricity.
WHAT TO DO WHEN FIRE IS GETTING OUT OF HAND
If you are not a trained fire service personnel, why do you want to face a rampaging fire? You cannot afford to lose your property and your life at the same time or why were you paying your insurer all these years?
Do these few things if fire is getting out of hand.
Leave the scene immediately: Leave the scene as soon as you can to avoid hazards and don’t forget to close the door after you if time permits.
Call appropriate authority: This should be done with immediate effect as that could still save few of your precious belongings.
Note: It doesn’t make any reasonable sense to be calling fire service station if fire is still within your control as may end up losing your fortune to controllable fire.
People use candle for different reasons but one thing is common to all of them – open flame. You must be very careful when using them in your homes. Accidents resulting from candle have resulted in several losses such as property, lives and other unidentifiable assets
STAYING SAFE WITH CANDLE
Get good candle stand:
A good candle holder must be very strong and be able to maintain a balance when placed on a surface. Avoid cheap candle stand that could easily fall at a slight touch or doesn’t have grip of candles when put to use.
Always place your holder on a plain surface:
It is one thing to buy the right candle stand but it’s another thing to place it at the right place. This is very important to avoid fire hazards.
Make use of substitute:
It is a risky thing to think of using a candle when there is power outage. You should rather consider a flashlight if you are living in a country where the rate of power outage is high. Have you ever thought rechargeable lamps are very good options?
Blow out burning candle before leaving a room:
There is no point leaving a candle to keep burning when you are leaving a room. Remember you can always light it up when you return.
Save your child; avoid candle in your child’s room:
Do not lit a candle in a child’s room especially if he is toddler. Chances are that a playful toddler can tip your candle over and eventually cause fire accident.
You don’t have to burn your candle to the bottom:
At what point are you supposed to replace that burning candle? Except your candle is on non – combustible surface, don’t wait until its’ completely burned before effecting a replacement.
Keep it far away:
No matter how good your candle holder is, make sure you always keep it far away from flammable items. This is to ensure that even if it falls, your house still remains safe.
Make sure you are not wearing loose clothes or flying hairs when lighting a candle. Dress smart as this would save you from avoidable burns.
Keep candles away from electrical cables:
On no account should you place your candles close to electrical cables as it could melt the insulators and thereby trigger fire disaster.
HOW TO HANDLE CANDLE FIRE OUTBREAK
The approach to handling candle fire is not really different from that of kitchen fire.
- Think safety: This should always be the first thing on your mind whenever there is fire outbreak.
- Alert your neighbours: Do not forget to alert your neighbours of what is going on in your flat. It is good to prioritize their safety above your property.
- Pick the right fire extinguisher: Candle fires are usually class A fires and you van contain it with either water or foam fire extinguisher. Please note that it is not the candle that makes it class A fire but the items that are on fire. If the fire has extended to electrical cables or appliances, it is no longer safe to use water fire extinguisher.
- Be on safer side: Do not stay in any position where entrapment could occur trapped so also are places where smoke can choke you up.
- Get out and make a call: Do yourself a favour by leaving the hazard point safely if fire is getting beyond your control and call appropriate authority for assistance
According to USFA, of all fatal fire incidents, smoking contributed about 13%. People smoke for different reasons but none of them is good enough to justify setting your house on fire. It’s ironical that this preventable type of fire is still a major cause hazards globally. Many deaths are still occurring every year and that takes us to the next question.
HOW CAN SMOKING SAFETY BE GUARANTEED?
Well, I am not sure anyone could guarantee smoking safety but I have listed out few important smoking safety tips that could at least reduce fire incidents.
Develop the habit of smoking outside:
You will save yourself some troubles if you refrain from smoking inside your house. This is aimed at preventing you from unknowingly dropping cigarette butts on your furniture or any other items that are flammable.
Smoking in your room is possibly the most dangerous:
The possibility of you sleeping off while in bed smoking is very high. Sleeping off while smoking could trigger fire reason being that bedroom is usually filled with combustible items. I don’t know of any riskier moment than when a man is caught up by fire while sleeping.
Keep smoking materials out of children’s reach:
Always remember that children love trying out what they see their parents do. This is possibly the very reason why you shouldn’t allow them have access to those smoking materials. A small boy who has no idea of his action’s outcome can light a cigarette and thereafter drops it on the carpet.
Get an ashtray for yourself:
If you can’t stop smoking indoor, this is very essential for you. Getting one for yourself will surely reduce the risk of fire resulting from careless dropping of cigarette butt on your carpet or other combustible items.
Be cautious when smoking in your garden:
Don’t just throw the content of your ashtray anyhow. Always be sure they are completely out so you don’t unknowingly set up your lawns and house ablaze.
Stay away from medical oxygen:
On no account should you smoke where there is medical oxygen. It is a known fact that any fire triggered by it tends to burn at a very high rate. The possibility of losing at least one life in this case is very high.
If possible, quit:
It’s always hard to quit a habit and I am not here to condemn any smoker. If you think you can live normal without smoking, quit.
Wikipedia describes electricity as a form of energy that comes in positive and negative forms, that occur naturally (as in lightning), or is produced (as in a generator). It is a form of energy which we use to power machines and electrical devices…
My focus in this article is how we can avoid or minimize the negative side of electricity as there is no way we could avoid it
ELECTRICAL SAFETY TIPS
If you so desire electrical safety, here are few precautionary measures to be taken to guard against hazards.
Make use of trained and qualified electrical engineers: Employing unskilled and unqualified electrical engineers for house wiring dangerous and risky. A poorly wired house is bound to go up in flames sooner than later.
Install smoke detectors: This is necessary so as to receive necessary allert when fire hazard has not gone out of control. It will help us in making informed decision when fire is about to break out
Use of high quality electrical equipment: The cost of buying a substandard electrical appliance may be cheap but the price you might likely pay in the future might be higher than expected. Substandard electrical equipment are usually the major cause of electrical fire hazards hence, the need to go for reliable products
Reduce loads on socket: Plugging too many devices and appliances to a single socket is very risky as excessive load on a socket could spark a fire after some time
Routine check on electrical installations: No matter how good your electrical installations and equipment are, make sure you carry out periodical checks on them. This is for you to know if any of them need replacement or repairs. Also, this will save you tons of money in the long run.
Do not ignore electrical smells: Anytime you perceive an electrical cable is burning, check to know where the smell is coming from and disconnect the power source as quickly as possible
HOW TO DEAL WITH ELECTRICAL FIRES
Electrical fire is one of the most difficult fire to handle as any slight mistake could be very costly. Care must be taken not to compound current fire problem in the name of containing a the current hazard from spreading
Save your life:No property worth dying for and like I mentioned earlier, if fire is getting out of hand, walk away
Alert Neighbours: Press your alarm to notify your neighbours of fire outbreak.
Switch off power source: The first thing you should think of when trying to put out electrical fire is how to quickly switch of the source of power to the hazard point.
Pick appropriate fire extinguisher: After witching off power source, the next thing is to deal with fire proper by picking the right fire extinguisher for electrical fire. It’s advisable you always hang the right fire extinguisher to each probable hazard point ahead of time. This will prevent you from picking up the wrong one if fire erupts.
Switch off electrical appliances: Switch off affected electrical appliances to avoid further damage. Do not make any attempt to switch off any electrical equipment if its power source has not been disconnected or switched off. This is needful to avoid electric shock.
Watch out for hot cables: the fire extinguisher for electrical hazard doesn’t have cooling effect and that is why you must look out for those hot cables and take care of them. This is very important as they are capable of reigniting the fire.
Don’t get too close: Avoid getting too close to electrical fire as the often produce sparks which could directly injure you or get you scared and get injured in the process. Also electrical sparks could send hot objects into your eyes thereby putting you at disadvantage position.
Keep it switched off still: Do not make attempt to switch on power source and other until a qualified electrical engineer certifies it to be okay to do so.
Be on the escape route side: Be sure you are on the side of the escape route to avoid being trapped in the process of extinguishing fire
Winter would always come and go but it hardly leaves without traces of fire accidents. Does it mean heating fire accident is not preventable? Let’s look at few safety tips that are good enough for curbing heating fire incident.
Keep flammable liquids away from heater:
As I mentioned earlier, you should cultivate the habit of keeping combustible items away from fire prone areas. Flammable liquid fire has tendency to spread fast as no thanks to spillage.
Make fireplace inaccessible to children
Do everything within your reach to prevent children from having access to your heating place. It is not only risky for the children but also, the entire family.
Turning heater off at the right time:
Leaving your heaters on when going to bed is suicidal hence, the need for you to avoid doing that. Controlling fire during the day is hurricane task how much less when you are caught unawares in your sleep. Have you thought of what will happen if your heater is on while you go pick up groceries from nearby store? I am sure you don’t want to expose your house to hazards.
Comply with heating oil specifications:
Avoid adulterated heating oil or any other oil that is at variant with what manufacturer’s specification . Note that those specifications were not just cooked up by manufacturers but done after a thorough research. If you truly crave for fire safety, strictly adhere to manufacture instructions on oil specifications.
If it’s not designed for house heating, don’t use it:
It’s risky to be using equipment like oven to heat your home as that is against manufacturer’s purpose. I am sure you don’t want to expose yourself to hazards such as burns and CO2 poisoning.
Employ professionals for heating equipment installation:
Except otherwise stated by manufacturer, on no account should you try to install any heating equipment on your own. Acting against manufacturer’s instruction might end up damaging your equipment. Also, you might as well suffer electric shock or other hazards associated with improper connection.
The number of fire incidents resulting from Christmas tree is has been extremely high despite the shortness of festivity. It usually occurs when there is electrical failure and carelessness on the part of celebrants.
The many excitements that come with the season is not enough to lose your safety consciousness. Residential building fire safety requires enough consciousness and strict adherence to established fire safety standards.
HOW TO PREVENT CHRISTMAS TREE FIRE ACCIDENTS
Look Out for Electrical Defects:
Just before you connect your tree to electricity, it is important you check to know if its cables are in good condition. A defective cable may trigger fire and cause a lot of damage.
Switch the light off at the right time:
It’s not safe to leave your tree on when going to bed. Also, as in the case of heating fire, switch off your Christmas tree whenever you are leaving your house.
Do not wait until live trees dry up before throwing them away. If you are thinking of keeping those live trees for some time, have you consider its cost? Did you know that keeping dry tree in your house is an invitation to hazard? Residential fire safety requires being proactive hence, the need to trash your Christmas tree at the right time.
Enough Awareness: Do not just believe everyone in your house knows what to do. It is to give them right fire safety education in order to have a fire-free Christmas celebration.
POOR STORAGE SYSTEM
Every house needs a store but how you structure your store and what you keep in there matter a lot. Fire from store could be as a result of chemical reactions or storage of combustible items close to hazard areas. Hazard point in this case is where you have your electrical fuse box, change over and other electrical apparatus. A little spark from any of those apparatus could trigger fire in your home
STORAGE SAFETY TIPS
Maintain Required Clearance Distance:
Do not store two chemicals that their mixture could trigger explosion in the same store. Be sure to adhere to required fire clearance distance as advised by fire safety professionals. Distance combustible items from your electrical room as much as you can.
Make store inaccessible to children:
Your store must be inaccessible to kids most especially if you cannot but keep fire prone items in your store. It will be good if you lock your store and keep its key in more secured areas in your room.
Routine check: Create time to routinely check your store so as to ascertain if there are liquid leakages that could trigger fire.
Above all, residential fire safety requires some measure of cleanliness hence, the need to tidy up your store at all times.
IS FIRE INCIDENTS ON THE INCREASE?
In general, data from USFA shows that there has been a downward trend in fire incidents in the US. Very impressive trend but for cooking fire that maintains an uptrend for a ten-year period. It is shocking that while others were trending downwards, cooking fire trend heads to the north for the said period of time.
Have a look at what happened in 2014 to have a good idea of what I am talking about.
Just before you conclude that it is simply a single year surge, the next chart would shed more light on kitchen fire’s trend for 10 years period. According to data from same source, kitchen fire has maintained an uptrend for the period in question.
Residential buildings fires for 10 years
As you can see, others causes of fire are trending southward while cooking fire heads the opposite direction. This could be as a result of governments regulation, carelessness on the part of home owners and many more.
What Are The Consequences Residential Building fire
No fire burns without some elements of pains thereafter. Here are few pains that come with fires.
- Property loss
- Environmental pollution
HOW TO PREVENT RESIDENTIAL FIRE INJURIES
According to FEMA, there were 6,250 injuries recorded in 2014 and as expected, cooking fire still leads. Residential fire injuries are in various degrees with type of fire being a major determinant.
Several factors are responsible for residential fire injuries and I will like to mention few of them. Do you mind reading these few residential fire safety tips that could save you from injuries in event of fire? I am sure you don’t.
- Do Not Panic
Keep your cool but be SMART in events of fire. In other words, think of what to do but not what might likely happen to you. If you panic, confusion will set in and that can be very dangerous.
- Train ahead of time
Train yourself up on how to use fire equipment such as fire extinguisher ahead of time so as to know how best to apply them.
- Tidy Up Your home
Dropping objects everywhere in the house could turn out costly in event of fire. Stepping on objects while trying to escape may lead to a fall and if you are no smart enough, it may work against your escape. You need tidy environment to prevent slipping over when trying to escape from fire.
- Maintain Good Distance
Staying too close to fire when trying to contain it could be dangerous hence, maintain a good distance. Sparks from electrical cables can give you a bad burn and I am sure you don’t want that.
- Make Provision for Physically Challenged Ones
Physically challenged people are prone to injuries in event of fire as they may not be swift enough to avoid some hazards. You should let them have access to fire alarm system and phones.
- Help the Aged Ones
Aged people are more likely to suffer injuries in residential building fire as they are often slow to respond to fire incidents. Train them up on escape strategy.
Do you know that most deaths recorded in home fires are not actually from burns but from smoke inhalation? How safe are those beautiful appliances in your home when they go on flames?
Possible Causes of Residential Fire Deaths and Solutions
All appliances in your house contains different chemicals and that makes their smoke toxic and dangerous for you. Therefore, prepare for the worst if your are caught up in their smoke when trying to contain domestic fire.
- Avoid Toxic Smoke
As I mentioned earlier, home fire fumes are extremely toxic hence, kills fast. Reports have it that the number of people who died as a result of smoke inhalation are more compare to the those who died as a result of burns. Residential fire safety precaution demands you avoid them as mus you can. Also, learn and practice the stop, drop and roll strategy ahead of fire hazards.
If home fire sparks send hot particles into a victim’s eyes, he might not be able to recover from it before fire catches up with him. Don’t get too close to most especially, electrical fires.
- Toxic Gas
Toxic gas such as carbon monoxide is not healthy as it’s very quick at replacing oxygen in the bloodstream. If the hazard point is likely going to cause gas leakage, lean to run away.
- Being Caught Up While Asleep
No amount of residential fire safety can save you if you are in deep sleep at the time of fire outbreak. The only solution I can think of right now is installation of smoke detectors close to all potential hazard points.
- Drugs impaired condition
Alcohol or other intoxicating drugs may likely cause you your senses in event of fire. What if I say you should minimize your alcohol or hard drugs intake? That’s the only solution I can think of right now. If you take too much of alcohol, chances are that you may not even respond to smoke detector’s alarm. Unfortunately, those who are impaired by prescribed drugs falls into this category and are prone to same problems.
Some deaths occur because there are no people on ground to help victims or help come a bit too late. This is common with people with disability and the aged ones.
- Mental disability
Mentally disability can work against a victim of residential building fire. Helpers might become helpless as victim may choose to lock himself up even in moments of hazards.
- Physical disability
A disable fellow could end up a victim of residential building fire as a result of his inability to swiftly respond to hazards. This is preventable by installing alarm in accessible areas.
Aged people are twice likely to die in residential building fire when compare to young and agile people. The reason being that they are no longer swift enough to escape raging fire.
Other Consequences of Residential Building Fire
Loss of Property:
Losses to residential building fire are often inestimable as there are some assets that no amount of compensation can replace. How do you replace ancestral artifacts or that much cherished birthday gift from your late mum?
Partial loss is easily bearable as it could be replaced without spending fortune. But, like I mentioned earlier, there are some priceless gifts that may mean much more to you than a mansion and you don’t want to lose such to any residential building fire.
Residential building fire is not good for our environment reason being that it comes with environmental hazards. The more toxic gas released into the air, the more our environment becomes unsafe no thanks to pollution. Some of the environmental hazards include air pollution, water pollution as as climate change. Also, the many massive unwanted wastes residential building fires leaves behind are never desirable.
GENERAL FIRE SAFETY TIPS
I think you have heard enough of residential building fire but this article seems incomplete we don’t mention few general fire safety tips. Let’s round off this article with some precautionary tips that are common to all fire incidences.
Prevention they say is better than cure. Not only should there be more awareness on the necessity for fire prevention but also, the dangers of not adhering to basic safety guides.
You Need Alerts – Buy Smoke Alarm
People should consider fire alarm as a necessity as this will go a long way in preventing residential building fires. Record shows that houses with no smoke alarm recorded more deaths than those with alarms. Smoke alarm is essential especially if you are thinking of escaping night fire hazards.
Let every household have escape plan
Many people do have escape plan but never practice it. You and your family members must practice what is on your plan periodically as waiting till when there is hazard before telling your children what to do could be costly.
Making provision for death prone people
The aged people are more prone to death in residential building fires followed by people with one form of disability or the other. You should always provide alarm in places that are easily accessible to them.
High quality safety products
Of what use is a smoke detector that doesn’t give any warning in times of trouble? The most expensive thing you will ever pay for is a belief that good safety products are too expensive. Be sure to buy safety products that are of high quality.
Also, governments should come up with regulations to curb production and distribution of substandard products.
Fire sprinkler technology
Do you know that fire sprinkler is not only good for residential building fire but also, commercial building fires? I believe the technology still require some improvements but that’s not enough to right it off completely.
This is the leading antidote to residential building fire and other forms of forms of fire. You cannot but have one if you are really keen at staying safe in your home, offices and cars.
THE ULTIMATE ESCAPE PLAN
It is one thing for smoke alarm to sound but it is another thing for everyone in the house to know how to escape an impending danger. That is why I will be rounding off this article with what you need to know and practice ahead of fire outbreak. This is called escape plan and for this to produce good result, every member of the family must be part of it.
Let all family members know and understand how to use all escape routes in the house. This is aimed at avoiding confusion in events of fire.
Nobody should use the elevator if you are living in an apartment. This is to prevent any entrapment that may likely occur if elevator develops electrical problems.
It is advisable all members of the family jointly practice how to escape from your home at least twice a year. This makes coordination in events of fire less necessary because everybody already knows what to do.
Your practice should cover how to feel the door knob as this in necessary so as to avoid burns in event of fire.
If smoke has already feel the way when getting out, everybody should learn to crawl into safety.
Make your plan all inclusive to save infants and above all, make provision for plan B to ensure maximum safety for children.
Chances are that someone’s cloth might catch fire and that is where STOP, DROP, and ROLL come in. Once you notice fire on your cloth, drop on the floor and begin to roll and you will stand the chance of quenching the fire and thereafter continue with your escape plan.
Create a meeting point: A meeting point is needful so as to know whether everyone is safe or not.
Except you are already trapped in the house, do not think of making calls until you are out in a safe place.
After your escape, put a call through to 911 or whatever the emergency number is in your country.