How to Fireproof your Home
Last modified: 2019/02/08 | Approximate reading time 5 mins
Your home is important, providing a place to nest, offering shelter to loved ones and giving you a space to rest your head. Of course, to make sure your house is in good working order, you need to keep everything in good shape while working with the best materials. Fires are a real threat to the modern home, and thus you’ll need to consider ways to keep things as fireproof as possible.
Although it might not be something you initially think about, we’re here to go over the ways to fireproof your home, as well as building materials and landscaping options to keep things cool, calm and comfortable.
Why fireproof your home?
Proper preparation for fireproofing
Sometimes it can feel like our home is invincible. However, after owning your own for a few years and seeing everything it must endure, you’ll begin to recognize this isn’t the case. Even if you’re extremely careful, it’s possible for your home to fall victim to a fire. That’s why it’s crucial to take every possible measure to make sure your home is fireproof, leaving you safe instead of sorry.
Preparing your home for a potential fire is the place to begin. Let’s start by discussing accessibility. It’s necessary for you to make sure that firefighters are able to access your home easily and especially important if you’re living in a rural area where this could be a problem. Issues include unmarked roads, narrow drives as well as an overwhelming amount of foliage surrounding the structure. To this end, complete seasonal inspections of your driveway and the façade of your home should be done to know if a fire truck is able to comfortably access the area.
Another important factor when it comes to fireproof preparation is the layout of your home. All rooms should have an exit point that leads to a room with a window or outdoors. Bedrooms should have two exit points, including a window and a door. If you have children or little ones living in your home, they should be equipped with the knowledge of how to escape a fire. Have them practice different exercises that will keep them safe in the worst case scenario. This should include simulating crawling underneath smoke, climbing out your windows and knowing how to use a ladder. Another suggestion is to keep an outdoor meeting spot where you can all find each other and take stock of the situation if a fire should arise.
How to treat an already-existing home
If your custom-building a new home from the ground up, then it can be created to resist fire to the best of its abilities. However, in this article, we’re looking at ways to fireproof an already existing home as well as when taking on improvement projects.
The roof is one place where using fire preventative materials can really make a difference. If you’re replacing or building a new roof, we’d suggest using a material like metal or asphalt shingles. This is because these materials are much more fire-resistant, especially in dry regions or in areas which are prone to forest fires. If you refuse to work with anything other than wood, make sure to use fire-treated wood. Although fire-treated wood still has the ability to catch fire, it’s much more resistant than untreated wood. Regarding other parts of the façade, work with fibre cement when possible, as this material is not flammable and will protect the inside of your house.
When it comes to the inside of the house, it is important that we think first about electricity. The most common cause of house fires is faulty wiring as well as improperly installed outlets. Therefore, this is the first thing you should check when looking for ways to prevent indoor fires. Signs of your sockets ageing include outlets that won’t hold plugs in place, visible smoke or smells emitting from the outlet themselves as well as any sparks. If you find you are interchanging between bright and dim, this points to a problem with the wiring. Another note that your electricity could use an update is popping fuses or those which need to be constantly replaced. Check and see the last time your electrical panel was updated and work from there.
Another common cause of fires is old or worn electrical appliances. If you find that certain appliances are overheating or not turning off, they will need to be replaced. Avoid running multiple cords from a single outlet as well as using old extension cords. Lastly, pay special attention to outlets that sit close to the sink, making sure they have special covers that are fireproof and protected.
Landscaping measures to prevent fires
The critical view you look at interior elements of your home with should be further applied to your front and back lawns. Landscaping that sits too close to your home is a danger, and you should consider ways to create a fireproof zone around your house. This fireproof zone includes using low forms of vegetation. This can include grass or other plants that sit low to the ground and should extend roughly 100 feet around the perimeter of your home. Make sure your grass is regularly watered, especially if you live in a fairly dry region, as even this can catch fire.
There are even some fire-resistant plants that you might choose to include in your landscaping practices, and here are just a few of them:
- Morning glory;
- Dwarf and regular periwinkle;
- Green lavender cot.
Smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and so forth
Your home should have a smoke detector, period. However, one smoke detector alone is not enough to warn your family about a fire, especially if it’s placed incorrectly. If your home has two or more stories, there should be one available on each floor and especially outside of bedroom doors. If a fire were to occur at night, you’ll need the alarm to wake you as well as your loved ones. Fire extinguishers are another essential preventative measure that you should take, keeping at least one in good working order in the home. These should also be in the right place, thinking about where a fire will happen most often. This is usually the kitchen or laundry room or even the garage.
If your home has a chimney, this will need to be cleaned and inspected every so often. This is because chimney fires can be common with chimneys left unkempt. When it comes to the fireplace at the bottom of your chimney, it should be equipped with a screen.
Our suggestions might seem like menial things, but the better prepared you are for a house fire the safer you’ll be!
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