Does your home present a more than usual fire risk? Disclose all material facts for home insurance!

A friend emailed a few fascinating photos in an email titled “You think you can pack wood?” These are certainly worth sharing and we may need to reflect on what the home insurance company. Your insurer will require all the important facts needed to calculate risk – and this should include a much higher than usual risk to the home burning down in a fire!!

We would like to share info from this blog and the post “What are the sources of fire at home and how can we prevent these fires?”

Sources of Fire

The most probable sources of a potential fire inside the home could come from any of the following, but is not limited to these few that are mentioned:

• Frayed electrical wires on appliances
• Burning candles
• Heaters/electric blankets
• Cigarette/cigar/tobacco pipe embers
• Fire places
• Gas leaks followed by a spark igniting
• Children playing with matches
• Burning oil on a stovetop

Most of these though would need to be accelerated by another source, for example a roll of toilet tissue near a heater grill may ignite and start a fire. It is therefore very important to keep the area around any of these potential fire hazards mentioned above clear. Don’t leave any heater/heated appliance or open flame burning while you leave the room.

Synthetic materials are widely used in household furniture. This material is highly flammable and will burn quickly once set alight. Keep open flames or embers away from foam matrasses, stuffed couches, curtains and carpets. These usually also cover a wide surface area and will be the cause of other maybe less flammable objects to catch alight.

Preventing Fire at Home

Here are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to a fire possibly breaking out in your house:

• DO buy a small fire extinguisher from a reputable dealer to keep in your home – note the correct way to use it
• DO familiarise yourself with emergency numbers in the event of a fire and medical emergency
• DO take note of warnings on selected appliances – do not cover heaters
• DO check electrical cables regularly for damage
• DON’T leave the room where a candle is burning, heater is on, fire in the fire place is still burning fiercely, oil is on heat atop the stove etc.
• DON’T pack personal belongings before leaving the house in the event of a fire
• DON’T try and put an oil fire in the kitchen out with water
• DON’T open a closed door of a room suspected to be on fire.
• DON’T enter a room that is on fire
• DON’T re-enter the home once you have exited away from the fire
• DO stay low to the ground when exiting a smoke filled room. Smoke will rise and staying low will minimise the potential for inhalation injuries.
• DO cover your nose and mouth with a (moist) cloth. This also minimises the inhalation of smoke by breathing through a barrier.
• DO exit the burning building as soon and as safely as possible.
• DO extinguish cigarettes/Cigars and Pipe Tobacco in the appropriate manor

Unfortunately, having a smoke detector and alarm in each room of the house is not common practise in South Africa but it should be encouraged. These somewhat simple devices are inexpensive and are easy to install. Have them checked and make sure that the batteries are kept charged.

A general rule to follow is to stay as far away from an uncontrolled open flame as possible.

[A word of appreciation to ER24 for the information provided]

Also view:

Prevention and Treatment of Burns

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