31 July 2019
7 important tips to prevent house fires
In Belgium, 10,000 house fires are reported each year. In order to protect yourself and those who live with you, it is important to remain alert at all times and to limit the risk as much as possible. Reduce the risk of fire with these tips.
1. Sweep your chimney
If you have a chimney, it is very important that it is swept clean at least once a year. Over time, soot and fire debris accumulate in your chimney. Actual bird nests can even appear inside it! One in three house fires is caused by a chimney fire, and some insurance policies require your chimney to be swept regularly.
Good to know:
If you use firewood that has been dried for less than two years, you should sweep your chimney at least twice a year.
2. Disconnect unused appliances
It is recommended that you turn off all electrical appliances when not in use. Not only does this save energy, it also prevents appliances from overheating. This heat can cause sparks and lead to fires. Also invest in safe sockets that protect against overloading.
3. Cook carefully
A deep fryer that catches fire or a dish that burns: it can happen to anyone. To avoid kitchen fires, it is recommended that you use a timer and make sure that your food never bakes or cooks for too long. If a fire does break out, do not panic. Keep calm and use a damp cloth (not dripping wet) or a fire blanket to cut off the oxygen supply. Turn off the power and open a window until the danger has passed.
Advice for the whole building:
Make sure that all the residents of your house or apartment building are familiar with the evacuation plan. This will ensure that everyone knows what the fastest and safest routes outside are if a fire breaks out.
4. Do not cover your electric heating appliances
This tip may seem obvious, but it is well worth repeating. Do not put anything on your radiators, especially if you have electric ones. There is a risk that the materials will overheat and catch fire. So, it is recommended that you use a dryer to dry your clothes instead of the central heating. If you suspect something is wrong with a radiator, have it checked by a professional immediately.
5. Be careful with cigarettes
It is strongly recommended that you do not smoke in bed or leave a lit cigarette anywhere without paying attention to it. Always put your cigarettes in an ashtray and empty it regularly. Never throw your cigarettes directly in the bin and always make sure that they are completely extinguished before you leave them anywhere.
6. Keep an eye on candles
Candles create an intimate and cosy atmosphere, but make sure you always blow them out when you leave a room. This simple action can prevent serious problems. Candle holders that protect the flame and candle from nearby objects also provide extra safety.
7. Make your children aware of the risk of fire
Fire safety is also important for your little ones. First of all, make sure that you do not leave matches or lighters within reach of your children. Also explain the risks of fire and what they can do if something goes wrong. Make sure, for example, that they can easily find the telephone numbers of emergency services and hang other useful information in a visible place.
Every year, more than 100 Belgians die as a result of house fires. A smoke alarm can make the difference between life and death.
This is why you need a smoke alarm:
- Smoke alarms detect a fire more rapidly than people, so you can react more quickly.
- A smoke alarm can operate for up to 10 years without replacing the batteries. They require little or no maintenance.
- They are easy to find in electronics and do-it-yourself stores. Installation is also a piece of cake
And what if there is a fire anyway?
Have you caused a fire accidentally despite these tips?