Fire has done amazing things for humanity over the centuries. From providing warmth and heat for cooking to running turbines and engines to create energy and electricity. Through the control and usage of fire and combustion our technologies have advanced exponentially, however we must always remember its highly destructive capabilities. When this natural wonder is allowed to thrive uncontrollably, anything can happen. The regular bush-fires we face here in Australia are a constant reminder of fires immense power to consume, destroy, and in worst case scenarios, to kill.
In order to keep your home as safe as possible the age old saying Prevention is better than a ton of cure, could not be more pertinent. In maintaining fire safety around the home, by keeping flammable items and combustible liquids to a minimum we reduce the risk to our homes and our families. Almost every home in Australia contains a veritable array of flammable chemicals and liquids, unbeknownst to most. By being aware as to where these items are, keeping them in a safe area near a fire hydrant, or just removing them from your home you can greatly reduce the risk should a fire occur at your residence.
Firstly lets take a look at the average persons kitchen. This is a part of the house where dangerous chemicals are often stored. Detergents, cleaning products, pest control and bug sprays, compressed gas canisters for cooking, and many other everyday household products can be highly flammable. These products can also often be found in the laundry along with additional detergents, sprays, bleach, pet flea and tick treatments, insecticides and other cleaning products. Then we move to the garage where it is common to find paint, spray paints, aerosols, motor vehicle cleaning products, windshield washer fluid and motor oil. Each of these chemicals can be highly combustible that may not only add to a fire if ignited but can also cause explosions.
More of the same can be found in the bathroom: bathroom cleaners, mold and mildew removers, drain cleaners, deodorants, hair sprays etc. In your living room there are rug/carpet/upholstery cleaners, furniture polish, and aerosol can air fresheners. This arsenal of potentially flammable chemical in your home can be the difference between life or death in the 3 minutes or less it can take for a fire to consume your home.
We can offset the risk of using these products in a number of ways. While these precautions may only save you a few minutes or even seconds, they could mean the difference between life and death.
- When using paints, be it be spray paint or aerosol paints, make sure to buy just enough for your project. Water-based paints are not flammable so use these if possible, and discard any oil-based paints if you dont need them anymore once your project is complete.
- When shopping for detergents and cleaning products, ensure you purchase non-toxic chemicals that arent flammable. All flammable products should come with a government warning on them to let you know of the potential dangers.
- Reduce your usage or find other methods so you arent reliant on flammable items in the home. Choose roll-on deodorant over spray-on (theyre better for you and the environment too!). Get your pest control done by a local pest control company rather than keeping an array of cockroach, ant and other insect sprays all around your home.
- Lastly, if you must keep some highly flammable chemicals in the home, try and keep them all in the one spot, away from the bedrooms if possible and near both a fire alarm and a working fire hydrant.
By being aware of where the flammable items in your home are and not having them scattered throughout your dwelling, you dramatically reduce your risk of death should tragedy strike. Ensure all members of your family know where the chemicals and hydrant are being stored, so that they may also be able to take appropriate action in an emergency.