With recent news stories of fires in cluttered homes I felt it was timely to highlight some of the steps we can all take in our office and home to reduce the likelihood of a fire. This week has been Electrical Fire Safety Week – read here to find out what measures you can take to keep your electrical items safe.
I spoke with Andy Graham – Crew Manager at Altrincham Fire Station to find out his thoughts on clutter and fire safety. Having undertaken Community Safety Advisory roles during his 23+ years as a serving fireman with Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service, he certainly knows his stuff!
“Clutter inevitably increases the risk of fire, especially if that clutter is flammable – papers, packaging, fabrics. Everything will burn, some items more quickly than others. The fire ‘loading’ increases if there is more clutter in a building – and that means a fire will spread more quickly. If an access route in or out of a building is cluttered with bikes and bags for instance, it will hinder your chances of getting out of a building or a fireman getting in, to get you to safety. A good tip for maintaining your home space, is to think of it as if you were blind – everything has to be spot on and uncluttered. If your home is full of smoke, your vision will be impaired and you will be disorientated. Leaving items all over the place is not an option.
Even if you have a relatively ordered home and things do have a place, you can unwittingly create dangers with the most simple items simply by having them in the ‘wrong’ place – a candle without suitable container on the side of the bath can cause melting & fire, a vase or other glass ornament in front a sunny window can reflect the light and cause smouldering and fire, and even a seemingly innocent magnified shaving or make-up mirror (concave) can be dangerous if it catches the sunlight.”
So please take a few minutes to check around your home or your office space – and take action to move the clutter, reduce the number of items plugged into those sockets and clean up any grime-spots that may be a risk. Install a carbon monoxide alarm and a smoke alarm. And be safe.