General ‘Fire’ Safety Tips: Before And After You’ve Bought Your Dream Home!
While buying your dream home, especially an apartment, always make sure to check on some of the basic features of the apartment from fire safety perspective. While the municipal authorities like GHMC in Hyderabad conduct this check prior to issuing the ‘occupation certificate’, as a home buyer you should be cognisant of the hazards of a habitat, and to keep your loved ones safe!
Even if you have checked the fire safety features, you must continue to have the requisite measures in place as you live in your apartment. Your society must be fully involved in ensuring that fire-prevention efforts are always paid timely attention to!
During festivals and family occasions, residents may like to cook, have barbecue arrangements, light-up bonfires, or burst crackers/fireworks. While the culture-specific or social activities matter, we must be cognisant of the serious threat of FIRE.
Fires occur mostly on these social and celebratory occasions more than any usual day.
So, a little preparation goes a long way to keep you safe. Some of these tips are-
1. Always check if the fire-detectors are functional
- Smoke detectors and fire-safety measures of an apartment are meant not just to get ‘occupation certificate’, or to fulfil formalities
- As a home owner, living in high-rise towers, the risk of fire must be recognised, and we must check if all the equipment like the fire-detectors are fully functional. The batteries must be replaced periodically, where required
- The Annual Maintenance Contracts, and shelf life must be checked for equipment and fire-extinguishers, and even the water-based fire-extinguishing solutions
- It should not slip our minds to check the smoke detectors, the water-hoses, the water connections, the fire-extinguishing sprinklers installed in rooms etc.
2. Having a fire extinguisher handy at your dream home is a good idea
- Fire can get ignited by a stray spark, a gush of wind, or even with a someone at home starting a fire instantly without realising
- So, be prepared, and have a fire extinguisher in your dream home
- Even if you may not even remember when you used your fire-extinguisher last time, you must keep it functional, know where it is kept, and know how to use it
- Make sure that your fire extinguisher is kept in an obvious location so that anyone can reach out to it quickly should a fire mishap occur
- Make sure you read the instructions on the fire-extinguisher to ensure you can jump into action without hesitation
- In case you are having a social event, a barbeque or festivities involving use of fire, keep the fire extinguisher handy
3. Make sure to have a home evacuation plan in case of fire
- While smoke detectors warn you of fires, and fire extinguishers help you put them off, yet it is advisable to think of the worst, and make an evacuation plan
- Be prepared, assuming that if you do not have enough response time, then your family and critical documents/items are moved out safely. Family safety comes first
- It is important to have a home fire evacuation plan, and to discuss it with family members
- You should not have to check on whether or not a family member made it out in the event of a mishap
- With a fire evacuation plan, every family member will what to do in case of a fire event, how to exit, and where to meet after exiting the building
- The staircase must not have undue obstructions, and people in the building should be able to exit smoothly
- Lifts must not be used during fires in apartment buildings
4. Clean cooking ranges, gas stoves, grills and cooking-equipment
- Unclean cooking equipment like an unclean grill would have lots of oil and fat residue, making it prone to catching fire
- Always keep your cooking equipment clean
- Keep your pooja rooms bereft of fire-catching materials, lest they catch the flame
- Never have pooja room in your kitchen, since some people light a lamp or an incandescent stick (Agarbatti) which can cause havoc in case of a gas leakage
- A unclean gas stove can also cause a nasty flare-up
- Well serviced gas stoves with LPG gas is a must. Always have an Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC) to get your cooking gas equipment checked for safety
5. Keep children away from cooking areas or places where fire is used
- Fire injury is best avoided when we do not come near an uncontrolled flame
- Children must not be left to wander close to your cooking area
- Children must not be left unsupervised to play with buttons or knobs of cooking equipment
6. Keep a water hose and bucket handy at home
- Milder fires than can be handled with water must be extinguished with it rather than fire extinguisher which has elements of chemicals
- So, a hose and a bucket of water besides an extinguisher at home is a great thing to have at dream home!
7. A monitored fire alarm system works better
- A monitored fire alarm system goes beyond just be a smoke detectors
- For apartment buildings, a monitoring centre keeps a vigil on the monitored alarm system, and is quick to alert the residents as well as the fire brigade unit locally
- So, even if you away from home, you worries about stray fires are taken care of
- Your society must make sure that the fire equipment is fully functional
- A fire-drill must be conducted periodically with the involvement of all the apartment families
These are some of the precautions you must take to protect your family from the risks of a fire.
To summarize- we must follow the three P’s: prevent, plan and practice. Making sure our home has working smoke alarms, our family has a fire escape plan, and every family member has practiced on the escape plan.
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