Fire Safety Tips for the Family this Christmas

Fire Safety Tips for the Family this Christmas

Apply these fire safety tips to keep your family and home safe from fire.

Floods and typhoon damage are more common disasters in the Philippines but we must also be prepared for a different type of element: Fire. A recent fire razed the houses of 1,000 families living in Barangay Addition Hills while another fire in Cubao claimed the lives of four members of one family.

Make sure that you take steps to prevent a fire from destroying your home but also be prepared in case it happens.

Prevent Fire

1. Conduct a fire drill.
Consider different fire locations and make sure everyone participates. Everyone has to be out within 2 minutes and at the designated meeting place. Do this at least annually. This will not only keep the knowledge fresh in everyone's minds, but it will also allow you to spot any new obstructions or hazards. If it has been awhile since your last fire drill, now would be a good time to have one.

2. Check fire exits.
There should be at least two ways to escape from every room - and everyone in the household should know. All rooms used for sleeping should have a big-enough window to the outside of the house. Make sure that they aren't locked and can be easily opened. Some families place grills on their windows to prevent akyat-bahay operations. Perhaps getting a bank safety deposit box would be wiser?

3. Check appliances.
Have a licensed electrician check for overloading, especially when you increase the number of appliances. To avoid overheating, there should be enough space around the appliance.

4. Do not be cheap.
There is a time to be kuripot - do not try to cut costs when it comes to items that could potentially cause fires. Christmas lights should have been inspected by the Department of Trade and Industry. Cheap butane canisters should not be refilled with LPG, a practice which triggered the fire in Cebu last month.

5. Keep fire and heat away from combustible materials.
Do not leave Christmas lights on overnight and make sure that they are placed far from curtains. Never smoke in bed and never leave candles unattended.

6. Teach the children.
Regularly remind them about the dangers of fire, matches and lighters. Keep them out of reach!

During a Fire

1. GET OUT, STAY OUT and call for help
Ideally, all family members manage to escape - do not run back to save your things. The national emergency hotline is 117 but it would be also good to know the number of the fire station nearest to your home.

2. Crawl low under smoke.
Most fire-related deaths are caused by smoke inhalation, not by the actual fire itself. Take time to practice this.

3. Never open doors that are warm to the touch.
Use the second exit, or if you are trapped, place a wet towel under the door. Wave a brightly-colored cloth or use a flashlight to signal for help from an open window.

4. Stop, drop and roll.
If someone's clothes catch fire, this is what to do to put the flames out.

Read: Avoid firework injuries and keep your family safe on New Year’s Eve  

Read more fire safety tips from the Philippine Red Cross, and more importantly, apply them to ensure your family's safety. If you have any insights, questions or comments regarding the topic, please share them in our Comment box below. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Google+ to stay up-to-date on the latest from Philippines!

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