Understanding the causes and prevention methods of household fires
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reported a staggering average of 62 deaths per day due to fire incidents between the years 2010 and 2014. Out of these, the highest number of deaths occurred in Maharashtra.
Fire incidents have become an increasingly significant peril in the last five years. They are now common household emergencies, with small misfortunes like short circuits and unattended ovens catapulting to huge accidents.
The NCRB differentiates fire accidents into four categories based on the cause. These are broadly classified as follows:
- Short circuits
- Gas cylinders
- Other causes
With most of these categories applicable at homes, it is necessary to be cautious.
Fire Mishaps Affecting nearby Residential Areas
Fire accidents are capable of spreading to vast proportions in short spans. This was clearly witnessed by tragedies that occurred in 2016. On April 10th, a terrible fire accident shocked the residents of Kollam, Kerala, as fireworks went awry at the Puttingal Devi Temple, resulting in huge casualties. In addition to the temple buildings, at least 150 homes in the locality suffered extensive damage due to the scale of the explosion.
This is not an isolated case; the fire breakout at the Colaba Metro Plaza in Mumbai in June 2016, although smaller in scale with no casualties, caused considerable damage to residential areas nearby. These mishaps are clear examples of fire accidents affecting nearby populations. The danger is amplified when commercial areas are close to residential set-ups.
Indoor Fire Safety
By employing proper and conscious precautions, it is possible to eradicate most indoor fire-related accidents. The following are some of the measures to be followed:
- Reduce indoor storage of fuel
- Refurbish household equipment like gas stoves and pipelines on a regular basis
- Refrain from overloading electrical sockets
- Ensure frequent inspection of electrical wirings and fittings
- Regularly service appliances such as air conditioners and coolers
- Take extra care while dealing with fabrics, newspapers and upholstery in the kitchen
- Turn off hot appliances such as iron boxes, hair irons, ovens, etc. when not in use
Ways to Tackle Fire Emergencies
In the unfortunate event of a fire breaking out, one must be well prepared to tackle it. Having proper knowledge and equipment to deal with the hazard can improve one’s presence of mind and in turn, reduce damage. The following are a few ways to stay prepared:
- Keep your house equipped with a fire extinguisher
- Work out a fire escape plan
- Invest in fire detection alarms and smoke detectors
- Impart fire safety knowledge to family members
- Prepare the house by choosing fire-resistant roof materials such as masonry roofing or asphalt-fibreglass in fire-prone areas
- Equip the kitchen and other prone areas with fire extinguishers
Additionally, opt for an comprehensive home insurance policy that covers your home and its contents against fire and allied perils.