House fires can have tragic consequences, but there are some things you can do to prevent fires from happening and deal to them quickly if they do. Here are some simple tips to keep your family and property safe from fire:
- Install smoke alarms and change the batteries twice a year
- Keep matches and lighters away from children, perhaps in an out-of-reach cupboard
- Prepare and practice a family fire drill
- Install a fire extinguisher in your kitchen – the dry powder type is best
- Wait until embers are cold before putting them out, and even then place them in a non-flammable container away from the house
- Electric fires and portable gas heaters must never be used to dry clothing. Many serious fires start this way. Keep children away from heaters
- It is easy to overload electric outlets with too many appliances. Make sure each socket supplies no more than two appliances
- If your wiring is old, get it professionally checked. A full report is reasonably cheap.
Doing the above can help put your mind at ease that you’ve done what you can to prevent house fires. Ensure you have the right insurance in place if there is a fire – for homeowners this means house and contents insurance, and if you’re a tenant, make sure you have contents insurance. This will cover your property and your landlord’s if you accidentally cause a fire.
For more fire safety tips visit the New Zealand Fire Service website.