By Viktor Chong
Fire is among of the most significant causes of property damages in Malaysia, whether it be in the industrial, commercial or residential sector. With residential properties, it is sad to say that the possibility of an outbreak of fire is mostly avoidable, since carelessness and negligence rank as among the prime reasons behind its occurrence. But here are a few simple tricks we can administer to reduce the risk of a fire outbreak in our homes:
Consider other cooking substitutes
Cooking activities are the leading cause of home fires and other related injuries. Residential fires usually occur in the kitchen at a higher frequency compared to any other areas in the home. If possible, substitute your gas stove for electric one such as an induction cooker, which cooks without the presence of a fire.
Mind your combustibles
Lamps or any other light-giving sources naturally produce heat, and their proximity to flammable objects such as curtains or pillows can quickly spark a flame. The same principle applies to your other heat-producing equipment, such as the bread toaster or stove. Also, your collection of liquor should be kept in cool places at a higher altitude, where it is unexposed to direct sunlight or the curious hands of children.
Carpets are not mandatory
Carpets make a fine addition to the repertoire of your interior design, not considering the insulation it provides against the cold floor beneath. However, all this fluffy, furry goodness won’t work very well when it boils down to saving your life in a blaze.
The materials that make up a carpet can be highly flammable, and the synthetic ones release toxic fumes in the air that can suffocate and blind, making it hard for you to escape. Consider keeping the floor bare as the cement acts as a fire break to mitigate the spread of the flame. For aesthetic purposes, you may replace those elaborate rugs with patterned tiles. If you miss the feel of a carpet below your feet, then opt for a pair of fluffy bunny slippers instead.
Organise your electrical extension
Electrical plugs and extensions often make for an unsightly spectacle, especially with the multitude of wires chaotically running about the floor. Hence, people usually tuck them under rugs or carpets to present a tidy appearance, not knowing the hazard it may pose to the house. First and foremost, it is inadvisable to cover your wires with combustible materials. Alternatively, organise them together with a binder clip, cord bundler or a cord organiser box. Also, check your electrical extensions and plugs periodically to ensure that they are not defective.
Eliminate natural fire starters
Dried leaves often make up the debris that clogs the roof gutter. They make excellent fire starters during hot weather and a further supplement to an ongoing flame. For safety purposes, make it a habit to clean the gutter periodically, and if possible, have the roof material made from tile or cement, not wood.