Various factors can contribute to an increase in the instances of house fires in summer including the increased use of barbeques, fans and air conditioners as well as the increased consumption of alcohol and the greater amount of time children spend at home during the holidays.
When you think of a fire in Summer hopefully you’re picturing a beautiful (contained) bonfire or campfire like in the picture above. The air is warm and the marshmallows are ready for toasting – can’t you just feel it!
These are good fires, but with the weather heating up it’s an ideal time to ensure you’re ready for a fun and safe summer with some important summer fire safety tips to protect your home from an unexpected and unwelcome fire.
Barbeque with Care
By all means fire up your barbeque and make the most of the summer weather but take the right precautions or you might find it too hot to handle. While this is not an exhaustive list, it includes some key tips for a safe barbeque:
- Comply with any fire restrictions such as total fire ban days and avoid barbequing in these instances
- Check the gas cylinder and all gas connections for damage or leaks.
- Be sure to position your barbeque on level ground away from anything flammable and in a well vented area.
- Have a water source such as a garden hose nearby.
- Do not put flammable liquids such as kerosene or petrol on the barbeque and keep all flammable liquids at a safe distance.
- Never leave your barbeque unattended when cooking.
- Ensure your children are at a safe distance and understand that the barbeque is not a toy.
Keep Cool but Stay Safe
We understand the need to stay cool in the climbing heat, but safety must come first. Maybe you haven’t used that air conditioner or fan since last summer – so how do you know it is in full working order? Dust accumulates around fan motors and these appliances are often damaged during storage in winter. Portable fans can also suffer from damaged electrical cords when not stored correctly. These factors can easily contribute to and result in a fire. It is important that such devices are inspected by a qualified electrician and cleaned before use.
A beer or a cocktail seems to taste that bit better in summer doesn’t it? Feel free to get together with friends and enjoy yourself but be responsible and don’t mix drinking with other activities that could leave you vulnerable to fire, such as cooking. Be self-aware and know that you are not likely to be as vigilant with fire safety when under the influence of alcohol.
Keep Kids Educated and Entertained
It should come as no surprise that statistics indicated a spike in house fires during school holidays. Children can be responsible for fires due to a lack of education around fire safety, or out of boredom or mischief when not kept sufficiently active or when left alone for extended periods of time. Parents should teach children about fire safety, the importance of not lighting fires and how to respond in the instance of a home fire.
Ensure your Smoke Alarm is at the Ready
Finally, check your property has smoke alarms installed and that they are in full working condition. If you own your home, ensure the battery is working or replace it if required, ensure the alarm is within its expiry date and that it is clean and free from obstruction. Depress the test button to confirm the alarm tone. If you are renting ask your agent – who is servicing my smoke detector? Remember, only working alarms save lives.