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Don’t let this happen to you! Here’s how to keep your home safe from fire

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) has already recorded 1,000 incidents of fire in the country since January 2017. In observance of March as Fire Prevention Month, the government office has released guidelines on fire safety for the home, office, and public area. InterAksyon file photo by Bernard Testa,

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) has already recorded 1,000 incidents of fire in the country since January 2017. In observance of March as Fire Prevention Month, the government office has released guidelines on fire safety for the home, office, and public area. InterAksyon file photo by Bernard Testa,

The month of March signals the start of fun, summer season–a time for vacation and out-of-town trips. More importantly, March is Fire Prevention Month and Burn Prevention Month by virtue of Proclamation No. 115-A signed in 1966 and  Proclamation No. 360, signed in 1989 respectively.

According to reports, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) has already recorded 1,000 fire incidents since January of this year. This number is a little lower compared to the recorded 1, 008 incidents from January to February of last year.

With the aim to ensure a fire-safe nation, the bureau, apart from continuously disseminating information on fire prevention tips, has launched a list of month-long activities to further engage the public.

BFP launches different activities to engage the public on the importance of fire prevention. Image sourced from BFP's website.

BFP launches different activities to engage the public on the importance of fire prevention. Image sourced from BFP’s website.

With the theme, ”Buhay at Ari-arian ay Pahalagahan, Ibayong Pag-iingat sa Sunog ay sa Sariling Pamamahay Simulan” BFP is inviting the public to participate in the essay writing contest for junior high school students; drawing contest for elementary students; poster-making contest for junior and senior high school students; photo contest for all amateur photographers; and singing contest for BFP personnels.Meanwhile, here are some of the fire prevention tips from BFP:

What to have at home

Install strategic smoke alarms in various parts of your home. Illustration by Manel  Solsoloy/InterAksyon.

Install strategic smoke alarms in various parts of your home. Illustration by Manel Solsoloy/InterAksyon.

1. Smoke Alarms
Install smoke alarms in rooms, the kitchen, and other parts of your home. It alerts you when fire is still in a controllable state.

2. Fire Extinguisher
Since not all fires can be extinguished by water, it is advised to have an ABC or ABCD type of fire extinguisher in the kitchen and workshop areas. A stands for light materials such as paper, plastic, wood, leaves, etc.; B stands for flammable liquids like kerosene, paint, solvents, etc.; C stands for energized electrical equipment such as plugged appliances and tools; D for combustible metals such as sodium, zinc, potassium; and K stands for cooking fuels such as frying oil or LPG.

Also, it is important to know how to use the fire extinguisher. On using it, remember PASS: Pull the pin; Aim at the base of fire; Squeeze the lever; and Sweep from side to side.

3. Emergency Exit Plan
An emergency exit plan in every home is highly recommended. Be sure that your kids know and understand the exit route and the meeting place outside your house. An exit drill is also a fun way of getting your children involved.

What to watch out for

Keep a fire extinguisher in your home and learn how to use it. Illustration by Manel Solsoloy/InterAksyon.

Keep a fire extinguisher in your home and learn how to use it. Illustration by Manel Solsoloy/InterAksyon.

In the kitchen
1. Never leave your kitchen while cooking.
2. Matches and lighters should be properly stored, and be kept away from children’s reach.
3. Keep your stove clean and grease-free. Also check your LPG for leaks by using soapy water.
4. In case your pan bursts into flame during frying, do not douse it with water. Instead, put the lid or cover the pan with a damp cloth.
5. Unplug idle electrical appliances.
6. Avoid overloading of outlets and use of worn out cords.
7. Do not store items on top of the stove.
8. Keep flammable liquids and other combustible items away from the stove when cooking.
9. Ensure that your smoke alarms are working well, and replace its batteries atleast every six months.

At the living room
1. Do not use extension cords as permanent outlets. Make sure that extension cords are not looped or exposed to sharp objects to prevent fraying.
2. Keep curtains away from electric fans.
3. Regularly clean and oil electric fans, and avoid using defective ones.
4. Defective appliances should be fixed immediately.
5. When cooking rice, pat dry the inner pot of the rice cooker before plugging and switching it on.
6. Take extra care in using a flat iron. Unplug it immediately after use.
7. Do not smoke in bed.
8. Put out candle lights before going to bed.
9. When using a candle, place the lit candle in a holder. If you have none, place it on the middle of a basin partially filled with water.
10. Keep your house clean. Get rid of dried leaves, cluttered paper, cobwebs, or other items that can easily be caught on fire.

In storage and garage areas
1. Keep these areas clean and tidy.
2. Do not store large quantities of flammable liquids such as gas or kerosene, paints, solvents, motor lubricants, floor wax, adhesives, and alocohol products, among others in your garage or basement areas.
3. Newspapers, rags, or other materials soaked with oil should be put on plastic containers before properly disposing it.
4. Clean spilled grease and oil from from vehicles immediately.
5. Plug your power tools directly to wall sockets. Use heavy-duty extensions only when needed.
6. Keep your garage well-ventilated to avoid buil-up of fumes and heat from tools and vehicles.

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