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5 fire safety tips you need to know this winter

Winter is coming: we might not be the first to say it, but we all know it’s true! It’s time to think about fire safety in your home; and we’ve got the top 5 fire safety tips you need to know.

While winter may not be as fierce here as in other parts of the world, it’s still cold enough to bring out the heaters, light the fires, and pull on the warm clothes. Unfortunately, New Zealanders are still failing to take all necessary precautions when it comes to home fire safety. With over 80 structure fires a week in New Zealand, it’s clear that our fire safety is less than ideal: don’t let your family become a statistic this winter.

Here are our top 5 tips for keeping your family warm and safe this winter!

1. Replace the batteries in your fire alarms

Yes, it sounds simple. And yes, we know how irritating those hypersonic beeps can be in the middle of the night when the batteries are running low! Too many kiwis simply take out the batteries and forget to replace them, leaving key areas of their homes unprotected. Remember: our sense of smell doesn’t work while we’re sleeping, so if a fire breaks out while you’re dreaming, chances are you won’t know until it’s far too late. Did you know that your home fire alarm has an expiry date? Most fire alarms need to be replaced every 10 years. Be sure to check your fire alarm’s expiry date: why not do it at the same time as replacing those batteries! Take a look at our range of fire alarms.

2. Don’t overload power boards, multiplugs and double adapters

It’s so frustrating when you run out of power points, we understand the temptation to use double adapters on top of an existing multiboard. Don’t! When you overload your powerpoints you are significantly increasing the risk of electrical fires in your home. In particular, plugging in an electric heater to a multiboard or multiplug is never a good idea: these heaters use a lot of power, and in many cases they can overload the circuitry, causing an undetectable meltdown within the wiring. This can quickly become a blaze when left unmonitored. While the NZ Fire Service have an average urban call out response time of 8 minutes, it can take as little as 40 seconds for your room to be fully ablaze. Why take the risk?

3. Cooking dinner? Don’t walk away!

Another common fire hazard comes down to simple human error: unattended cooking. It’s easy to become distracted at dinner time, especially if you have kids to look after, or if you have visitors stopping by. Late night cooking after a few drinks is another kiwi downfall, while putting the pan on the stovetop and being caught up in your favourite TV programme is another. Just think: in a matter of minutes, your meal can catch fire, your kitchen can be ablaze, and the moment for controlling the flames can be over. Stay in focus when you’re cooking, and save your family from disaster.

4. Clean out your fireplace and chimney for winter

Getting your fireplace ready for winter use is as simple as picking up the phone and calling your nearest chimney cleaning company. It’s not as expensive as you might think: especially when compared to the cost of losing your family home to fire. Anything can happen over the summer months: your chimney is an ideal roosting place for birds and other rodents. If your chimney is significantly blocked, then a fire can easily start from trapped sparks coming back down the flue: not to mention the smoke danger. Also, remember the three rules of safe fire setting: clear the space around your fireplace (at least 1 metre back), shield the area from sparks (using a fireguard) and keep objects away from the area above your fireplace.

5. Check your electric blankets

Is there anything nicer than climbing into a pre-warmed bed? We all love our electric blankets, but to ensure safe use, you need to check a few things first. Make sure you visually inspect your electric blanket prior to using it for the first time, checking for damage to the wiring and internal cables. When you place your electric blanket on the bed, keep the control well clear of the mattress and base, and make sure the power cable isn’t twisted or tangled. Of course, your electric blanket should never be plugged into a crowded multiboard! Finally, make sure your electric blanket is either on a timer, or that it is turned off before you fall asleep.

There you have it: our top five winter tips for staying firewise this winter. Other hotspots in your home to watch out for include heated towel rails, space heaters and heaters in your children’s bedrooms: be sure to keep the ‘metre from the heater’ rule in mind with any heating device in your home, and don’t be tempted to leave heaters unattended in closed spaces. Stay warm and safe this winter!

Chat to our team at Fireco for more home fire safety tips, and for home fire safety equipment to keep your family fire safe this winter.

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