Every year, about 6,000 premises nationwide are destroyed by fire, according to the Fire and Rescue Department. Forty percent of this figure is comprised of private homes. The losses suffered from fires are astronomical especially when it comes to the loss of lives. And who can forget the two incidences of tahfiz school fires in September of this year, the first of which tragically claimed 23 lives?
Even though Malaysian-built homes comply with the building laws, many home owners have failed to regularly maintain the safety of their premises from fire hazards. Thankfully, it’s not too late to start. Here are 5 important ways to fireproof your house:
1. Install Smoke Alarms
A working smoke alarm could save you and your loved ones in a fire. Keep your home and family safe by purchasing and installing alarms as soon as possible, if you haven’t done so.
- Ensure that they are SIRIM and BOMBA-approved. Get the good quality ones which cost about RM100 each.
- Press the test button on the smoke alarm every month to make sure that it still work If there is no sound when you press the button, it’s time to change the batteries. Batteries must be changed annually to ensure continuous operation of the smoke alarm.
- Install the smoke alarm in the kitchen or on the ceiling in the hallway where you can hear it while you are asleep. If your home has multiple storeys, put a smoke alarm on each floor.
2. Practice Safety In The Kitchen
Most fires start when people are cooking. Thus, it is important to practice good fire-safety habits in the kitchen.
- Keep your kids away from the kitchen when you are cooking. They may accidentally knock over a pan and be injured.
- When you are frying with oil, never turn away from the pan as oil can easily catch fire. If the oil starts to smoke, turn off the burner and let it cool. You must never put water onto hot oil.
Put a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and another in the corridor. Get the multipurpose ones which can be used on oil, carbon-based material and electrical appliances. Make sure to service it annually.
3. Teach Your Children About Fire Safety
Besides ensuring that young kids are not left unsupervised in rooms with a fire risk and that matches and lighters are safely locked away, children should also be taught about fire safety.
- Make sure they know how to raise the alarm when they see smoke and/or fire.
- Teach them how to escape from the house in the event of fire.
- Show them how to call 999 and to leave the correct and complete home address.
4. Use Plugs Safely
Faulty electrical items cause thousands of fires in the home every year. It pays to be vigilant in making sure your plugs and electrical appliances are in good working order.
- Do not put too many plugs onto one socket as it can start a fire when overloaded. It is recommended to use only 1 plug per socket especially for appliances that consume a lot of electricity, such as washing machines.
- Ensure that all electrical appliances are SIRIM-approved.
- Regularly check for hot plugs, plugs with dark marks and loose or broken wires. Take the affected plugs out of the socket and have an electrician look at them.
Before going to bed, unplug all electrical appliances except for the fridge
5. Be Careful With Cigarettes And Candles
Cigarettes and candles are also responsible for starting a lot of fires. As such, they must be handled with safety in mind.
- Extinguish cigarettes as soon as you’ve finished with them.
- Put candles or joss sticks in a holder whenever they are in use and do not leave them unattended. Keep them away from flammable things such as papers and curtains.
Have A Fire Escape Plan
In the event that the smoke alarm goes off, you need to have a plan on how to exit safely from your home. Make sure your family members know about the plan and escape route.
- The objective of the plan is to get out of the house as fast as you can. Do not try to take as many things as you can with you or look for lost pets.
- Everyone should know where the door and grille keys are kept.
- All doors, windows and grilles must open easily from the inside and be unobstructed by items.
- If you are in a high-rise building, do not use the lifts or go to the balcony. Go down the stairs if possible.
- Call 999 or the nearest fire station. Remain calm and let the fire and rescue professionals do what they do best.
- Always scan and backup important documents such as birth certificates, identity cards, passports and insurance policies on the cloud, which will come in handy should you lose them in the fire.
Protect Your Home Contents
Now that you’ve learned the ways to make your home fireproof, you can go a step further by insuring your home contents with EZHoliday for up to RM30,000 for loss or damage due to accident, crime or natural disaster if it occurs during a holiday period. In addition, you’ll get extra benefits in terms of lump sum cash as well as a monthly family allowance in the event of an accident during a covered holiday period. Costing only from RM0.35 a day, EZHoliday is an affordable way to get peace of mind when you are away from your home. For more information on EZTakaful’s extensive range of personal accident plans, click here.