A household fire can be a very devastating thing for one’s family life. In general domestic fires have been on the decline in recent years, with 41,000 dwelling fires occurring from 2012-2013, 6% less than there were the previous year. Of those, 89% were the result of accidents. The fires in question were also responsible for 350 deaths, 76% of which occurred within dwelling fires. However, it would be foolish to think that something happening less frequently is the same as something not happening at all. The only way to properly protect your home from a fire is by investing in fire safety products, which can help detect, prevent, protect or deal with fires as they occur.
Fire safety products do not mean you will never suffer a fire. Such guarantees cannot be reasonably made. However what they can do is give you and your family ample warning of when a fire occurs, or better equip you to combat fires. Both of these can at least allow you a very wide window to escape your house while you await for the fire service to arrive.
Of course you cannot afford, and nor should you seek to purchase, every fire safety product under the sun. Some are geared towards specific buildings and industries for example, and others are actually quite superfluous for the overall safety of your home. With this in mind, it may be a little difficult to work out which products are and are not necessary for the purposes of protecting you and yours. Fortunately there are some products that can provide a very solid foundation to fire protection.
The cheapest and most readily used is the fire alarm. Fire alarms, in their most basic form, detect fires in a given room and activate a very loud alarm to alert the household that there is a fire. How it detects said fire varies. Some detect smoke and vapour as a whole, some detect heat and others detect specific chemicals within smoke. Fire alarms function most effectively when placed on the ceiling -- smoke and heat both rise after all -- and should be regularly checked to ensure that they are still functioning. Most fire alarms are powered by batteries, although some can run off the mains, and over time they may also become clogged with dust and debris, which stops them from working properly.
Fire blankets are another form of fire safety product that can be bought, and they’re also relatively cheap. They can usually be bought for around £10-£15. They are useful extinguishing very small fires, and can also be used in an emergency to protect the user from direct or indirect burns. If someone has actually caught fire, the blanket can also be used to extinguish it.
The last and most expensive piece of equipment you may wish to purchase for your home is a fire extinguisher. Fire extinguishers are used to battle larger fires than a fire blanket can handle, and are probably the fire safety product you’ll most likely fall back on when a fire gets out of hand. They can contain a variety of substances used to put out fires, such as water, foam or CO2 (carbon-dioxide). However fire extinguishers are expensive to replace, and also need to be refilled when used. They also need to be operated correctly, or else they won’t function effectively. If they function at all, that is. Both fire extinguishers and safety blankets should be placed somewhere easy to access, such as the hallway or the cupboard under the stairs.