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Making Your Home Less Prone to Fires: 7 Safety Tips

In the Philippines, the hottest months of the year also come with a higher demand for electricity. However, in our struggle to alleviate the heat by running multiple electric fans or cranking up the air conditioner, we end up increasing the risk of starting fires. This terrible accident can cause devastating damage to property and lives if not addressed properly.

As a homeowner, it’s therefore of utmost importance to take proactive steps to prevent fires and be suitably prepared in case they happen nearby. This way, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of incidents that can put lives in danger and compromise the safety of your belongings.

What Are the Common Causes of Fires in the Philippines?

Residential fires are a prevalent and pressing concern in the Philippines, particularly in densely populated urban areas. In 2023 alone, the Bureau of Fire Protection responded to more than 15,000 fires. Among the common causes of residential fires in the country are electrical faults, cooking accidents, open flames from candles or lamps, and the storage of flammable materials in close proximity to living spaces. These incidents can result in significant property damage, injuries, and loss of lives.

To reduce the risk of fires in your household, here are a few tips: 

Recognize the Value of Smoke Alarms

A constant guardian against the threat of fire, smoke alarms detect and alert you about the presence of smoke in your home. This way, you can address the cause promptly. In case of larger fires, smoke alarms can help you evacuate quickly and alert emergency services.

It’s best to install smoke alarms in every room in your home, but the most crucial ones include the kitchen, bedrooms, and storage areas. To prevent accidentally triggering the alarm in your kitchen, buy a range hood that will prevent smoke from accumulating indoors. Remember to test smoke alarms regularly and replace batteries at least once a year to ensure that they are always activated.

Purchase Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are invaluable tools for swiftly containing small fires before they become uncontrollable. Every household should have at least one fire extinguisher readily accessible on each floor, particularly in high-risk areas such as the kitchen and garage. Understanding the different types of fire extinguishers and their appropriate usage is essential for effective firefighting. Additionally, ensure that everyone in the household knows how to operate a fire extinguisher safely and effectively through hands-on training.

Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Often referred to as the "silent killer," carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas produced by incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. Carbon monoxide detectors serve as vital safeguards against this lethal threat, alerting occupants to dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide in the air. It's imperative to install carbon monoxide detectors near sleeping areas and other areas like living room and dining room where family members spend a significant amount of time.

Make sure to conduct regular maintenance, including testing and replacing batteries, to ensure the continuous operation of carbon monoxide detectors.

Maintain Electrical Systems

Faulty electrical wiring and overloaded circuits are among the leading causes of residential fires. To minimize risks, have qualified professionals conduct regular inspections and maintenance of electrical systems so that they can identify and rectify potential hazards before they escalate. Have a technician come over to ensure that the electrical outlets and wiring in your home are neither damaged nor frayed.

At the same time, avoid overloading circuits with multiple appliances. Consider installing ground fault circuit interrupters or GFCIs in areas prone to moisture, such as kitchens and bathrooms, to prevent electrical shocks and fires.

Use Surge Protectors

Power surges can wreak havoc on electronic devices and pose a significant fire risk. Using surge protectors can mitigate this by diverting excess voltage away from connected devices. This safeguards them against damage and reduces the likelihood of electrical fires. When purchasing surge protectors, opt for models with a high joule rating and ensure they are certified by reputable testing organizations like Underwriters Laboratories.

Practice Safe Cooking Habits

The kitchen is a hotspot for fire hazards, with stoves and ovens generating fire and heat, which means that making a habit of following safe cooking practices is essential for fire prevention. Always stay attentive while cooking and never leave cooking appliances unattended. Also, keep flammable items such as kitchen towels, pot holders, and curtains away from the stove and oven. In case of a grease fire, smother the flames by carefully sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the heat or use a fire extinguisher designed for Class B fires.

Secure Open Flames

Open flames from candles and lanterns can quickly ignite nearby combustible materials, posing a serious fire risk. To minimize this danger, place candles in sturdy holders on stable surfaces, away from flammable materials and drafts. Consider using flameless battery-operated LED candles as a safer alternative, especially in households with children or pets. If you have fireplaces or wood-burning stoves, make sure they are properly maintained and equipped with screens or glass doors to contain sparks and embers.

Ultimately, fire prevention should not be confined to a particular season or occasion but rather a year-round commitment. By incorporating these fire safety measures into your everyday routines and by remaining vigilant, you can significantly reduce the risk of fires in your homes. This will provide peace of mind and safeguard the well-being of your family. Remember, fire safety is everyone's responsibility and taking proactive steps today can prevent devastating consequences tomorrow.


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