Fire damage is one of the most devastating incidents that could happen to anyone or to a family. It can ruin all your valuable possessions and other properties that you have worked hard for, all these years. Not to mention that it can eat up your entire house structure too.
Fire can be caused by nature, as in the case of lightning, but most of the time it is caused by accidents or recklessness. In the United States alone, many households were brought to ruins and billions of properties were eaten up by fire because of habits as “simple” as unattended cigarettes, candles and electrical appliances.
Prevention is the Key
Dealing with fire damage should start at preventing fire from occurring in our homes. Calling the fire department in our neighborhood already means that some of our properties are already burning and going away right before our very eyes. Hence, homeowners should observe preventive measures to avoid and control fire and eventually, fire damage.
How to Prevent Fire Damage
There are two most simple yet effective ways to prevent fire damage – being careful when using fire-causing products and using fire resistant products.
As mentioned earlier, most fire incidents were caused by mere negligence and bad habits. We are always told not to leave electrical appliances still plugged, candles burning or cigarettes lighted. Simple as this advice may be, many people still ignore it and suffer the consequences. Once you have gotten off this habit, you are a step forward in preventing fire damage.
The other half of basic fire prevention is using fire resistant products. Technology on fire resistant products has, thankfully, improved over the years. We can now avail of different fire resistant products to use soon as, or even before, fire starts at home.
Fire Resistant Products
Here’s a list of some fire resistant products every home should have as much as possible. Surprisingly, some of the products, like construction supplies, may be already in your house.
Fire-resistant shingles, cement, terracotta tiles and paint
Most residential and commercial buildings are built fire-proof, using construction materials that are not combustible and difficult for fire to penetrate. While structures that contain asbestos are best because of its ability to resist fire, asbestos were said to cause health hazards when the fibers are released. In the 1980’s, it was banned by many countries. Therefore, as much as possible, avoid any asbestos content in your homes or have it checked and replaced especially the damaged ones.
Instead, terracotta tiles can be utilized for roofing as it is also a fire resistant product. Fire cannot make way into the clay of terracotta. Hence, it can resist fire damage. Aside from roofing, terracotta can be used in your lawns or in fireplaces where many fire incidents occur.
There are also specialized building materials for your home’s coating and drywall that are both fire-resistant and asbestos-free. Certain paints cannot combust easily during fires, same with Class A shingles and other kinds of metals, window shutters and cement. Refer to various hardware stores to assist you on this or contact your real estate agent to double check on the types of materials used in your house.
Fire-resistant Cables and Wirings
Modern homes are stuffed with various electrical appliances with cables and wirings that are disorganized. Poor wiring is one of the leading causes of fire, and with that, homeowners should check the wirings in their homes since cables and wirings can spark easily and start a fire.
There are new types of cables that can withstand and resist heat, specifically those that are made from silicone. Modern buildings are equipped with fire-resistant cables and wirings. If your cables are not fire resistant, you can buy silicone control cables that can be used to cover and wrap the usual cables. This is good for computer cables, television sets, refrigerator and other appliances that are used and left unattended all throughout the day. Aside from making all the wiring organized, you will be confident that they will be safe from contacting, triggering and spreading fire.
Safes. Chests and Drawers
Safes are the most common fire damage prevention tool aside from smoke detectors, sprinklers and fire extinguishers. Safes that can range from personal to firearms safes can keep your most valuable possessions undamaged during a fire. Safes can withstand at least the temperature of 1400°F for 30 minutes, just enough for the firefighters to control the fire. Important documents like treasury bonds, titles and wills, money, jewelry and many more should be placed in fire-resistant safes. Most safes are also anti-burglar so with two purposes, safes are good investments.
Aside from safes, it is good to secure other important documents and data in fire-resistant drawers and chests. Daily living revolves around data, either your business proposal or your kid’s research paper. Protect these by purchasing and storing them in fire-resistant drawers. They come in different sizes from the tall drawers for vertical files to a small chest case for your USB and other data storing devices.
Fire-Resistant Pans and other Fire-Resistant Kitchen Utensils
Kitchen is considered the most probable place for fire incidents because this is where many electrical appliances are used. To top it, cooking takes place here where a lot of fire is involved.
Grease and fat can easily catch fire easily. Hence, it is a good idea if your pans are fire-resistant like the thermostat controlled fryers. Fire resistant pans may be a little more costly but it is a good investment when you think of fire damages.
Check also if your kitchen appliances like stoves conventional and microwave ovens are tested and certified fire safe by authorized agents. Make sure that the canisters or other plates are microwave and dishwashing safe. These items can withstand heat without breaking which can sometimes instigate fire.
Fire-resistant Upholstered Furniture
By law, upholstered furniture must be made fire-resistant. This started in 1988 to address numerous cases of fire damage that originated from the living room. This is true, especially in case of smokers who fall asleep while watching television - with their cigarettes dangling in their hands. Some upholstered furniture can easily catch fire. Therefore, start checking if your upholstered furniture is indeed fire-resistant and change it in case it isn’t. Costly as this may be, it is a good investment, particularly if you or someone in the family smokes.
There are many kinds of garbage that are flammable, therefore causing fire, such as cigarettes. Majority of cigarettes are thrown while it is still lit and when mixed with other garbage like paper, it can start a fire that will lead to serious fire damage. Fire-resistant trashcans and bins are widely used in many offices in the country because most garbage are paper and some employees may inadvertently throw their cigarettes during breaks. If you think your place is prone to this, you should start buying fire-resistant trashcans particularly those made from aluminum, steel and fiber glass.
Though this product is quite costly, investing in fire-resistant fabrics is a smart decision. The usual fabrics found in our kitchen, living room, bathroom and practically all areas in our home can easily catch fire. With this in mind, we should go for draperies and curtains made from fire-resistant fabrics. This is a good choice especially in the kitchen where there is a greater chance of contacting fire through fabrics in pot holders and kitchen towels.
Gardens should also be fireproofed by cutting dead leaves, branches and wood. Do this with your indoor plants too. Keep in mind that dry leaves and wood can catch flame easily than those that are still healthy.
Furthermore, grow plants that are known to resist fire than other types of plants. These plants usually have thicker barks and can hold moisture longer. Examples of fire-resistant plants are grasses, vines like Ivy, flowering plants like African Daisy and Lavender and trees and shrubs like Birch, Oak, Cherry, Lilac and Jasmine.
To sum it up, fire-resistant products don’t necessarily mean that they are completely fireproof, though some of these are capable. These products, however, can significantly minimize incidents of fire, as well as fire damages when flame starts. Likewise, they can prevent fire particularly from those caused by carelessness.
Using these products can complement other anti-fire prevention measures that you already utilize at home. You just need to do a round at your home and check which items should be replaced by fire-resistant products.
Fire resistant products can be bought in physical stores or at online stores. It is better to make a quick search on the internet first to save time on comparing prices. Before, only offices and buildings can afford such items but as more manufacturers noticed the need for fire resistant products, these items became readily available and more affordable for home use. After all, the initial cash outlay for these products is definitely less compared to what you are going to lose if fire happens.