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Updated: March 19, 2015

Twelve easy ways to fire-proof your home

Check and double-check your home to make sure you’re not at risk of accidental fires.

Accidental fires are very common at home and continue to be a threat to your safety and that of your loved ones. The Bureau of Fire Protection revealed that in Metro Manila alone, there have already been more than 600 fire incidents in the first two months of 2015. The Bureau also says summer in the Philippines can cause over 9,000 fire incidents all over the country.

Scary as these stats may be, there’s no need to get heated up about them. To help you fire-proof your home, especially with March being Fire Prevention Month, here are a number of ways you can avoid accidental fires in your own home.

1.  Unplug your appliances if you’re not using them, or before you leave the house and no one will be around to use them. Too lazy to do it over and over? Here’s another motivation for you: you’re not just avoiding fires; you’re also avoiding extra charges to your monthly power bills.

2.  In case of a blackout, set up candles in places far from flammable materials like curtains, tablecloths and newspapers. Keep them away from windows and doorways too; a strong gust of wind can easily knock them down. If the blackout goes well into the night, blow out the candles before turning in.

3.  If possible, avoid using candles altogether and opt for flashlights of rechargeable lamps.

4.  Never leave cooking food unattended on the stove. If you have to leave the kitchen for a while, turn off the stove and then turn it back on again when you come back, or have someone keep an eye on it.

Burnt eggs will be the least of your worries if you leave this on the stove.

5.  Keep electrical sockets and cords dry at all times, especially the ones by the kitchen counter and near the bathrooms, where water splashes are bound to end up.

6.  Install smoke detectors all over the house, especially the kitchen and bedrooms, and remember to change the batteries regularly. If your smoke detector is over a decade old, toss them out and get new ones.

7.  Buy a fire extinguisher. It’s best to choose ones labeled A, B, and C, which fight the three kinds of fires (ordinary combustibles, flammable liquids, and electrical). It’s best to have one for each floor of the house, but if you only have one, keep it in a place where it’s easily accessible.

8.  Got young kids at home? Keep lighters, matches, and other similar objects where their little hands won’t get to them.

Your little ones are better off playing with their toys.

9.  If you find any electrical wires outside your house that seem out of sorts (tangled, severed, etc.), call the electric company and have them fix them to prevent any further damage.

10.  If you live in an apartment or condo building, remember where emergency exits are located so you can escape quickly in case of a fire.

11.  Make sure everyone in the house knows the number of the fire department so they’ll know who to call in an emergency.

12.  Never, ever smoke in bed, especially if you’re tired, sleepy, or intoxicated. In fact, impose a no-smoking rule for the inside of the house. If people are smoking outside, make sure their butts (the cigarettes’, not the people’s) are completely extinguished before being tossed into the garbage.

Fires don’t just destroy houses and possessions; they also take away people’s lives. By taking these simple but helpful precautions, you are ensuring your family’s safety as well as yours.

In case of fire, dial 117. For more information about fire prevention, contact the Bureau of Fire Protection at (02) 426-0219, (02) 426-3812, (02)426-0246.

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