A fire in your home is devastating no matter how old you are or what stage of life you’ve reached. But it can be far worse if you can’t hear the flames, smell the smoke or see the danger. This is a reality for many of our aging population who have lost the sharpness of their senses and the mobility to escape a burning building.
Simple, preventative, measures can make a huge difference in making your home safe from fire damage. Even a small house fire can cause hundreds of pounds worth of repairs. A fire out of control can cause complete devastation, including loss of life. Cigarettes dropped if you fall asleep, unattended chip pans and matches left in children’s reach are common sources of house fires. However, there are several steps you can take to reduce the risk of a fire in your home.
Having smoke detectors in your home is an essential step in fire detection. It’s recommended you install a smoke detector by external doors, in or near the kitchen, in the hallway and on every floor in your home. Once installed, use the “test” button to make sure it works and check the batteries every few weeks. It’s worth replacing the batteries altogether at least once every year as well.
The audible sensor should be loud enough to wake you if you’re sleeping. When testing your smoke alarm, make sure you can hear it from different locations within your home. Check that all your family members know how to test the smoke detectors and they know what to do in an emergency. Fire safety is everyone’s responsibility. If you need assistance call a professional such as Portcullis Alarms to fit your smoke detectors.
If you have hearing difficulties, you can install a ‘bed shaker’ or vibrating pad under your mattress or pillow. If smoke is detected, the alarm will sound and set off the pad, vibrating your pillow and helping to wake you. Some smoke detectors also have strobe lighting features which flash brightly if smoke is detected.
Depending on your fire protection system, smoke detectors can be linked to an automatic 24-hour monitoring service where the fire brigade is called should a sensor activate.
If you wear glasses or a hearing aid, or if you need a cane or a wheelchair, it’s recommended you keep these by your bed while you sleep so they can be reached easily in an emergency. If your smoke detector goes off, it’s important to act quickly. If you have a monitored intruder alarm then activate the panic button – a smoke detector should also be linked to this alarm system so that the alarm receiving centre can call the fire brigade automatically. Shout as loudly as possible to alert your family and pets. Stay low to reduce smoke inhalation and exit your home using the nearest exit, without stopping to collect personal possessions.
Your life is more important than a trinket, photograph or memory stick and having properly maintained smoke detectors and monitoring system might one day save your life.
Added: 20th June 2019