Under Section 19 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 (the 2005 Act) every employer shall identify hazards, assess risks and have a written risk assessment, including any unusual or other risks. To comply with Section 19, employers are required to carry out risk assessments and to record these in the Safety Statement. A fire safety risk assessment should be conducted. Fire prevention should form part of this.
The triangle illustrates the three elements a fire needs to ignite: heat, fuel, and an oxidizing agent (usually oxygen). A fire naturally occurs when the elements are present and combined in the right mixture, meaning that fire is actually an event rather than a thing. A fire can be prevented or extinguished by removing any one of the elements in the fire triangle. For example, covering a fire with a fire blanket removes the oxygen part of the triangle and can extinguish a fire. In large fires where firefighters are called in, decreasing the amount of oxygen is not usually an option because there is no effective way to make that happen in an extended area.
Properly maintain your smoke alarms by testing the batteries once a month. If they’re not working, replace them immediately.
Regardless of what kind of primary heating you have in your home, an annual inspection will reduce your risk of fire. Change filters regularly to avoid build-up of dust and lint that can easily catch fire. If you use space heaters, carefully inspect them before and after each use and place them at least three feet away from anything combustible.
Don’t leave anything flammable near the stove or oven. Make sure curtains don’t hang over the stove, and never rest towels or a cookbook on the stove.
Don’t leave a hot cooking surface unattended. Whether it’s a pot on the stove or an electric griddle, you need to be close by. If you have to leave the room, take the pot off the stove or turn off the griddle first.
If you have a gas-powered dryer, have it inspected once a year to make sure all connections are secure. No matter what type of dryer you have, always clean out the lint trap after a load is finished. Regularly check behind and around the dryer for pockets of lint or items of laundry that have fallen under or behind.
Regularly check the condition of cords and watch out for frayed wires: repair or replace cords with frayed wires immediately. Electrical cords can produce heat, so don’t trap them under a rug or between furniture and the wall.
Many household cleaners and cosmetic products like shaving cream and hair spray are flammable. Keep flammable products away from heat, including exposure to sunlight. Designate a cool, dark cupboard for flammable products and make sure all family members know where they go.
Never leave candles unattended and always keep them away from flammable items like blankets and curtains. Place candles in secure, tip-proof holders and extinguish them before leaving or going to sleep.
To keep errant sparks from escaping, install a durable metal fire screen in front of your fireplace. Don’t leave a fire unattended, and give ashes ample time to cool down before disposing of them. Always place fireplace ash in a dedicated metal container that isn’t used for any other household refuse.
Stock key areas of your home with fire extinguishers. At the very least, keep one in the kitchen and others near high-risk areas like a fireplace. Regularly review the instructions and make sure all members of the home know how to properly use the extinguisher. Fire damage can be devastating, but you can minimize the risk of fire in your home. Make these practices part of your fire safety plan and review them regularly.