It is very important that all homeowners insulate their homes from any natural calamities and accidents. This is not possible always as many things can go out of control, however best you might try to avoid them. When I built my new home in the suburbs of Melbourne, I incorporated certain safety features that would drastically reduce the risks and damage from fire. Not that I am an expert in this field, but I took pains to learn through research on the Internet about the fire rated specifications of equipment being used by the builders and other related contractors.
What then are the areas that I gave special attention to?
- Skylights – I was very particular on this point. Not all skylights are fire rated as per stringent Australian standards. But there are skylights that are specially manufactured for bush fire prone areas with sealed hatches and glass that can withstand high heat. The base and the stand are coated with fire retardant materials. I had these skylights installed even though they were more expensive than the usual conventional ones.
- Smoke alarm and sprinklers – Now smoke alarm is very common and in certain states it is mandatory to have them. There are a couple of varieties ranging from the ordinary to the super sensitive ones. I have installed the latter variety in my bedroom and living room and the medium types in the kitchen. I wouldn’t want the smoke alarm to go off from the slightest of smoke in the kitchen. I have sprinklers too all over the house. Hence, any fire will be partly controlled even before help arises.
- Fire Extinguishers – Fire extinguishers have been kept in the kitchen, the attic and the basement. Kitchen of course is obvious but the other two locations have been given importance simply because these are hard to reach with pails of water or hoses in the event of a fire. Initially, I was not sure how to use this equipment. Hence I attended a fire-fighter training course in our community hall to ask about it. I was amazed at the facilities there. Machines that replicated real life fire situations were being used to train personnel and give them a thorough understanding of future work conditions.
- Electrical points – Every electrical cabinet and all junction boxes are fitted with additional safety switches and circuit breakers. All these are installed in a cabinet away from the reach of my children. I am very wary of electrical fires caused by overloading and crossing the rating of the installed wiring by having heavy duty appliances running simultaneously. This is why I called in an accredited and authorised electrician to do all the related work.
- Installation of surveillance cameras – This is a double edged sword. On one hand, it will help me track thieves and burglars and on the other hand, I can monitor the situation in my home even from a remote location through my Internet enabled smart phone and laptop. Thus I can immediately know by logging into the recorder if everything is ok even when I am away on business trips or on vacation with family with the house locked.
I have fully secured my home from fire hazards. Have you?