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Fire-Proof your Home

"Tips on preventing fire incidents"
By: Arch. Rich Lasam, uapFire-Proof your Home

Before buying a house and lot, you need to make a checklist of safety pointers. After all, you do not only invest in a property, but also in the safety of your family. Here are some tips:

· Check the surrounding environment of the lot if there are possible sources of fire such as electrical transformers, gas tanks, car garages, and trees.

· When designing your home, do not put the kitchen near a possible source of fuel for fire (such as store rooms and furniture) so as to reduce possible fire events from getting out of hand.

· Areas that pose a possibility of causing a fire should always be designed to be visible to the occupants of the home so as to immediately detect fire emergencies. Putting window panels on the doors of the kitchen and storage rooms should be considered.

· Put the electrical panel of the home in an area which is accessible so that it is easy to check. The old practice is to locate it in the kitchen, but that is now considered to be hazardous. (The kitchen is a source of both water and fire.) A possible alternative idea is to locate the electrical cabinet in a visible area of the home. To make it aesthetically pleasing, house it in its own furniture cabinet.

If you have an existing house that you wish to protect against fire, try to identify the “fire risk” areas and the “fire load” areas. The former refers to the places in which a chance of a fire can occur (kitchen, garage) and the latter includes places that contain a lot of items that can burn for a long time and can spread flames (cabinets, store room, etc.). Generally, the two types of spaces should not be located beside each other.

Additionally:

· Always keep fire extinguishers in the home, classified to handle the A (flammable solid objects), B (liquid such as gasoline), and C (electrical equipment) types of fire. Always check the expiration date of your extinguishers as they need to be replaced periodically. Always keep extinguishers near possible sources of fire risk.

· Put fire alarms in the places where fire will most likely occur, such as storage room and the kitchen. Make sure that the alarms in the kitchen are not smoke detectors as these may turn on prematurely when triggered by cooking activities.

· Regularly check the electrical systems of the house for damage (such as frayed wires, tripped fuses etc.) as these can be a possible cause of a fire emergency. Consider consulting an electrical engineer.

Turn off all electrical items via the main electrical power panel of the house if you are leaving for an extended period of time. That everything in the house is switched off shall give you peace of mind.
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