No matter the type of home or area you live, fires are something we should all be wary of. A fire can quickly burn everything you have to aches and leave you with nothing left that you have to spend so many years working for. Homes are definitely fire hazards and they need to be cared for, with planning and escape features to make it safer for you and your family.
If you have never lost a home or anything through a fire, it can be easy to say that it will never happen to you. However, we all have our moments of pure negligence that could potentially cause us to take risks that may not end well. Many of these safety risks are generally due to budget limitations and people forgetting to make them.
In this article, we break down some of the essential parts of your home that may be prone to fire risks and it could also endanger your family. We have focused on budget and affordable options that will help to improve your home and reduce the fire hazard. You don’t need to follow all of them, but keeping a couple in mind or slowly implementing them could make a difference.
Start With The Layout Outdoors!
You home layout is probably the thing you have the least control over. However, it is the best way to start creating a fireproof home and reducing some of the costs that you might need to spend later when you have the home built already. Here are a couple of important tips that you can keep in mind when building your home from the ground up.
The materials you use for your home is one of the main areas that you can start. Things like wood and even plastered walls can all burn down easily. Often times these materials will add more fuel to the fire, making it much harder for the fire department officers to help you put the fire out.
Gravel and concrete is probably your best option to ensure that you can resist a fire if it does start. Concrete is heavy and extremely durable, but many people won’t use it for the building costs and also the amount of effort needed to build your home. It can take years longer to use something like concrete for a home.
When we refer to gravel, it can be used to create barriers around your home. Whether this is your patio or your driveway, the gravel can definitely help to keep a fire that might have started outdoors in one specific area. Grass will allow the fire to continue spreading around your landscape and you might lose even more.
Whether you believe it or not, but there are actually a couple of plant types that are considered to be fire resistant. With enough heat, they may actually burn down, but they can slow the fire down for the fire department to arrive and help put it out. Here are a couple of common plants that you can find to help slow down fires in your yard:
- Ornamental Strawberry
- Yellow Ice Plant
- California Lilac
- California Fuschia
- French Lavender
There are many more plants that can actually be used and one of the best ways to look for plants for your garden is the resin content. The resin can actually help to spur on the fire, leading to even more damage. The plants we have selected are high in moisture and they should preserve your garden for a little longer.
Avoid Structure Congestion
One of the fastest ways to lose a lot is to have everything situated in one area. It is understandable with homes being smaller in the modern era, but you also need to adapt and limit the clutter. One shed is more than enough and should be a couple of yards away from the main building. With a gravel barrier placed in between, you can definitely avoid potential hazards.
Another main area that can be responsible for fires in the garage and you should try to contain everything in your garage. Power tools might malfunction when being used and they are better off being placed in the shed. Additionally, you can use them at a safe distance from your home to limit the damage that could be done.
Additional Tips To Help With Fireproofing Your Home From The Outside Or Layout
There are many more small things that you can do to fireproof your home and some of them are self-explanatory. Here are a couple more suggestions that you can keep in mind when it comes to making the home fireproof:
- Build A Pool: The swimming pool is one of the things that we all love in the summer. Yes, the maintenance costs can be a little expensive, but it will serve as a good water source to help put out outdoor fires. It can also create a barrier between structures to keep fires from spreading.
- Metal Window Frames: They might not look as good as the average wooden frames and even be a little more expensive, but metal is fire resistant and won’t add more fuel to your fire as wood can.
- Uphill Landscaping Design: When laying out your garden, you might want to consider having an uphill slope to your home or even between structures that are heavy fire risks. It takes much longer for a fire to move uphill, especially when you have gravel or concrete barriers to protect your home.
- Keep Maintenance Up To Date: we all have our lazy moments and we forget to keep the maintenance up to date. However, good maintenance will definitely help to keep your home a little safer. You should try to keep gutters and drains clean, while also keeping dry leaves away from potential power lines.
- Easy Access for Fire Trucks: What’s the use in calling the Fire Department if they don’t have any way of accessing your home? Fire Trucks can be quite large and they need some more space than your average car. It will be ideal to make a larger driveway to accommodate them if needed and remove garden clutter.
Make Sure You Are Protected Indoors!
Most household fires tend to start on the inside of a home and this is due to electrical appliances and even additional heat sources that may malfunction. Once you are sure that your home is protected on the outside from potential fires, you need to move between each room to ensure there are no indoor fire hazards.
The kitchen is most probably the biggest fire hazard of any home and it is really versatile with everything that is placed inside. According to studies, more than 50% of all household fires start in the kitchen and this is not always the fault of the cook, but can often be malfunctions and negligence from a homeowner.
The internal wiring is one thing that often goes through the walls, but when done without a professional, it is really easy to cross wires over one another. This can lead to shorts and even broken wires that can start a fire on the inside of your wall or at the plug outlet. It is vital to have a professional do this for you and you need to make sure that there are no issues. While this is essential for your kitchen, you can use this for the rest of the home as well.
Another part of the layout is again the materials used in your kitchen. Since it is a massive fire hazard, having materials like granite used for your counters over wood will help a lot. Cabinets are generally wood, but you might have to add a fireproof coating if needed. Additionally, we have seen that replacing wooden floors with tiles can also help make the home a little safer.
Don’t Add Too Many Appliances at Work the Same Time:
You love to make some coffee while cooking your favorite meal and washing your clothes at the same time and while all this is fine if your home is not designed for this, it might cause some issues. There are many energy-saving appliances on the market today and they can make life much easier for you when using them all simultaneously.
If the kitchen is small, you should have the number of appliances that can work with your power sources. As a rule of thumb, you should only have one multi-plug unit in your kitchen for some of the smaller appliances that won’t use as much power.
The Gas Stove Over The Electrical Stove:
While using any one of them can be a risky and daunting prospect, you should consider the gas stove. Yes, you might need to pay more attention to the stove, but unlike an electrical stove, you won’t have the possibility of an electrical short circuit that could potentially burn down your home as the stove gets older and the elements give in.
The gas stove is easier to use and heats up much faster. Since you have heat much faster, it also means you will be done cooking much sooner. The gas stove will cool down just as fast as it heats up. Whereas the electrical alternative might take a little longer to start cooling down, leaving you with the ultimate possibility of having a fire started. It is also recommended not to use the highest settings when you are cooking with an electric stove as this could burn the elements.
Safe Cooking Practices:
We easily find ourselves distracted when cooking, especially when it comes to cooking. If the food is simmering or taking too long, we occasionally like to sit in front of the TV or continue with other chores. While it is a great way to start multitasking and finish up some of the chores that we don’t have time for in other situations, it can be dangerous and you should always keep an eye on your food.
Flammable items are also found in the kitchen quite often and need to be kept away from open fires or the stove. Since they can easily catch a flame and start a fire, we also recommend having some sort of fire blanket and extinguisher close by when cooking. Should something go wrong, this will at least be some sort of lifeline.
Children and pets should be kept away from stoves as much as possible. You might have picked up that the stove is one of the biggest risk factors that you need to deal with. It is important to stay safe by keeping children away from your hazardous areas for as much as possible. It is also wise to give them a small crash course before letting them cook.
Lastly, you need to look at your microwave and understand that there are many hazards that pertain to the microwave. Not everything you buy can be placed in the microwave and it is important to read the instructions to find out if something is fine to be placed in it. Tin foil is one of the things that should never be placed in a microwave.
Install Smoke Detectors And Precautions:
A smoke detector can be a frustrating thing to have in your home, but modern day smoke detectors will allow you to change the sensitivity. A smoke detector will immediately notify you before the fire even starts. It is also important to have some sort of extinguisher or source that can be used to internally douse flames that pop up at random.
The Rest Of Your Home
Once the main area has been sorted, you need to start looking at the rest of your house to ensure that it remains safe and protected from potential fires. Here are a few more tips that can be implemented throughout the rest of your home and could keep you from having to deal with the disaster of a fire in your home:
Limit Smoking In The Home:
It will be much better to keep smoking outside, but if that is not the case, you need to limit smoking inside, to one room. Make sure the room does not have any flammable components that could cause potential damages and issues.
Fire Sources And Wood Stoves:
When it comes to fire sources and wood stoves, they can be an excellent source of heat generation in the winter months. However, you need to keep an eye on them. One of the best ways to stay safe is the regulate the temperature and not to let the fire keep burning when no one is at home.
As we have mentioned with the outdoor areas, you need to constantly do indoor maintenance as well. If you have power sources like gas heaters and appliances, you should keep an eye on the wellbeing and once they have reached their time, you should get rid of them. Proper maintenance is a great way to ensure that your home remains free of fires.
Overloading Power Sources:
Not every home is built to help support all of your power needs. We generally find one and sometimes two power sources in a room, leading children and some adults to overload them with circuit breakers and multi-plug units. It is important to help your children understand the risks and how many items they can use per power source.
Escape Planning And What To Do When You Have A Fire!
If you have taken all the preventative measures and you have seen how much of a difference they make, you might not even need any escape planning. However, taking precautions is important, but once a fire does break out, you need to have some sort of contingency plan. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind that should help you have an escape plan:
Have Multiple Escape Routes:
Having multiple escape routes are a great way to actually ensure your safety. Many people only have one, but you don’t know where you might find yourself in the home and where the fire starts. It might block off your escape route and having a couple of doors or even windows that can easily be broken will ensure more than one route.
As a rule of thumb, you should have one escape route leading o the outside in each room that you spend a lot of time. Most bedrooms include a small patio or even a door to the outside that makes it possible to escape. This can also work to keep you protected from an intruder that might be in your home.
Save Humans And Pets First:
Humans and pets are the most important since they cannot really be replaced. Most people consider starting with children and the elderly, but we believe you should save who you can first and then move onto the next. Your belongings can be replaced and if you have insurance for fire coverage, it will also help to replace everything that you have lost.
Do The Doorknob Test:
If you are escaping, you might know what is waiting for you on the other side or if you are walking into a firetrap. The doorknob test is a way to see if it will be risky to enter a room. If the doorknob is too hot, you know that it is not a good idea to enter a specific room and you might need to come up with another plan. This can also delay the progression of the fire.
Extinguish The Fire If Possible:
Do you remember the fire extinguisher or fire blanket that we have mentioned? This is the ideal time for you to use it if possible. However, you should always call the fire department first to ensure they are on their way to assist you. While you are waiting, you can use what is at your disposal to douse the flames as much as possible.
Avoid Elevators At All Costs:
The elevator can be a daunting place and while it might be tempted for you to choose the elevator as your escape route, it is extremely risky. Elevators are generally connected by cables they make use of electrical power. If any of the electricity goes out, you will not be able to control it and might be trapped suffocating. Try to use the stairs whenever possible.
Always Keep A Cool Head:
With so much heat, it can be daunting and even scary to keep a cool head. We as humans are generally known for freaking out and panicking. You should always try to keep a cool head and focus on the problems at hand. This will ensure that you can think clearly and you won’t be making any decisions that are risky.
Now that you have a better understanding of your home and which safety features can be implemented to ensure that you remain safe, it is important to start taking action. You can always brush up on your knowledge to ensure you are ready for any hazardous situations that may arise. The more knowledge you have, the better and smarter you can react.
We hope that you have found this guide helpful and that it can one day potentially save your life. We would like to request that you share it if possible and help keep everyone safe in their homes when it comes to fire hazards.