Do you know where your mains water switch is?
Could you switch off your mains electric in an emergency?
Do you know where your mains gas switch is located?
These questions may seem trivial, but knowing the answers could save lives and often over time or when our partners pass away, simple things around the house tend to get forgotten.
Fires in homes kill hundreds of people in the UK every year. Small fires are more common and they can cause serious injury and damage homes and treasured possessions. By taking a few simple steps and being aware, you can significantly lower the chances of fires and accidents happening in your home.
Most of us are very good with fire alarms these days, but when was the last time you tested it and do you even know how to test it? They should be tested on a weekly basis by pressing the test button and holding it until the alarm sounds. Never just assume that because it is wired up to your electric system its always in working order.
Always make a fire plan of action within your home, no matter how big or small it is, as in the case of fire we all tend to panic and a pre- thought out plan of escape will always aid an easy exit. Always keep windows and doors free of clutter and ensure door and window keys are easily found. Try to imagine the room being full of smoke – it will greatly reduce your ability to find small objects.
Half of fires happen in the kitchen and around electrical items, so be very organised about a ‘periodic inspection’. Every five years a qualified Electrician should carry out an electrical test on all wiring, lights and sockets. Wouldn’t you feel more comfortable in your own home if you know it is safe?
And remember! Most insurance companies will not pay out if it is proved an electrical fault was the cause of any fire- big or small.
Almost all our homes now have gas central heating or cooking facilities- when gas leaks or doesn’t burn properly too much carbon monoxide is produced. Carbon monoxide has no smell, no taste and no colour but it’s poisonous. It can kill in just a few hours and you’re especially at risk when you’re asleep as you may well not wake up and notice the symptoms. Invest in a carbon monoxide alarm – it could save your life.
Good advice is to have a yearly gas check, if you smell gas never use a mobile phone to call emergency services inside as this can cause an explosion and always turn off the gas at the meter.
Finally, are you aware of problems in the home caused by Legionella? This bacteria is found in water sources and can multiply given the right conditions of temperature. Inhalation of this bacteria can also cause a form of pneumonia. If you have a hot water cylinder you should ensure the temperature exceeds 60 degrees.
Shower heads, bath and sink taps are all areas where legionella lingers, so descale where possible and always run taps and showers for at least ten minutes before use if they have not been used for a couple of days.