Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Do you have a fire safety plan?

Some of you may remember that my brothers house burnt down in May of last year. He wasn't home at the time but his friend and house mate was home and asleep. His home was an older property and their fire alarms weren't hardwired and from what I remember the batteries went flat in the weeks before the fire. His housemate did not survive.

B and I along with my Aunty and cousin were left with the task of removing any salvageable items before looters got in and pilfered anything. You see some parts of the house were okay each, smoke damaged but the items were able to be recovered. We managed to spare a few sets of photo albums as well as some souvenirs from his recent overseas trips. We were even able to recover some of his mates stuff too for his family. It was strange going through the charcoaled remains of the house. We found old books where the pages were perfectly intact but the outside was burnt. It was odd. The heat from the fire was so much that side of his aluminium boat in the carport melted and the other side of it exploded sending melted aluminium across to the next door neighbours and shattering there windows.

 After the fire B and I talked about what we would do in case of a fire. We changed from key locking the screen doors in the house to ensure that there was a quick escape route in case of emergency. We check our hardwired fire alarms regularly, but I would like to get another one or two installed as all our fire alarms are in the hallway. They are placed directly outside all bedrooms, but I would like one or two on the other side of the house near the lounge room and on the other end of the kitchen.

Now that Caden is getting a little bit older I am planning on including him in our fire safety plan. I am not sure if Mahli will understand, but she will be included too.

I was looking around for a fire safety template and found this information here :

Create your family's home fire escape plan
Step 1:
Download the grid below to create your family's home fire escape plan. Draw your home floor plan on the grid, marking all the exits.
Step 2:
Get the children involved by asking them to help identify the two quickest and safest ways to get out of the house from every room, including upper floors.
Step 3:
Decide on an outside meeting place, such as the letterbox.
Step 4:
Practise your home fire escape plan regularly with the whole family.
Step 5:
Keep the plan handy (on the fridge) to remind everyone of the safe exits in case of fire.
You can find the downloadable PDF plan template there too.

They also have this fire safety checklist:

Home fire safety tips
Never leave cooking, heaters, open fires or candles unattended
Don't overload power boards
Keep electrical appliances in good working order
Ensure cigarette ash and butts are extinguished. Never smoke in bed
Do not dry clothing less than one metre from heaters
Clean lint filters on clothes dryers after every use and always let dryers complete the cool-down cycle
Store all matches and lighters out of reach of children
By law every home must have at least one working smoke alarm installed on each level of the house. Clean and test your alarms regularly and make sure they are working
Install a fire extinguisher and fire blanket and know how to use them
Have a home fire escape plan and practise it regularly
Never deadlock yourself inside the house. Keep keys in the lock when you
are at home

The QLD Fire and Rescue website also has some really useful information.  Please take some time to check it out.
In my searching for information I also came across this newpaper article. It states that there have been 21 deaths to residential house fires between January 1st and December 15th 2011 in Queensland alone. And this study concludes that 49% of house fires fatalies midnight and 8am. 

I don't know if I am more aware of house fires occurring or if they have just been more common these past 12 months. But I do know there have been a lot in Queensland alone. There have just been too many house fire fatalities. I am not saying having a plan and completing the checklist regularly will prevent them, but it will surely help.

Do you have a fire safety plan?

I am linking up with Jess from Diary of a SAHM for IBOT and The Organised Housewife for Love it, Like it, Link it.


  1. Such an important post and message!! I've been thinking alot about our plan in case of a fire after the last year of terrible, terrible tragedies involving housefires, especially in Queensland. Our girls bedrooms are at the furthest end of our house away from our bedroom and it is such a worry to think that if a fire broke out in the middle of the house in the middle of the night, we'd really struggle to get to them, without going through the windows.

    Thanks for the links and tips.... I hadn't a chance to go and find them myself yet, so you've just saved me heaps of time!!

  2. Great post! We don't have a plan as such but I will go and look into thanks to your links.

  3. Kristy, I have the same fears about Mahlis room, she is at the other end of the house past the kitchen. Ethan is closest to us and Caden is in the middle of both of them.

    Thanks Rhianna, I home you find the links useful.

  4. That is so sad about your brothers housemate. We haven't really got a plan in place. We only have one smoke alarm and I regret to say we often take it down because it is super sensitive and goes off all of the time- but then it seems to take us ages to put it back up.... not good. You have inspired me to be a bit more proactive about this. I plan to have a decent chat to hubs about it tonight!

  5. Thanks for this very helpful post.

  6. With all the house fires in the news lately, this is a great post and timely reminder that we need to think about these things. We always think it won't happen to us, but candles, christmas lights, christmas trees, all increase the risk of fire greatly. Thanks for the tips and the reminder!

  7. Two Christmas's ago our neighbours house (4 doors away) went up in flames. There was nothing left. Thankfully they were out at the time, but still, they were devastated. It was awful. Thank you for the timely reminder. xo

  8. We don't have a formal fire plan, but CrashHubby did increase the number of smoke alarms and checked they are all working. We live near a park and party goers on NYE started letting off fireworks. We could hear them raining down on our roof and all I could think of was our big pile of straw in the backyard!
    Our council is doing spot checks of residential homes to ensure there are no fire hazards like long grass, woodpiles near the house and probably our heap of straw!
    We've been locking our screen door on hot nights, but the keys stay in the lock. Thanks for the resources. I'm going to talk to CrashHubby about our plan.

  9. You know I don't even think our smoke alarm is working. I must get Tim to check.

    I just assume that cause we don't live in a place that is prone to bush fires, that we will be ok, but that's not a safe conclusion to draw.

  10. Wow. I just realised we only have two hard wired smoke alarms at the front of the house and none at the back by the girls' bedrooms. It seems we've become very complacent.

    Thanks for this post - I'll get right on it.

  11. Such a timely reminder!!! I am going to work this out when I get home from holidays!
    I have a fire alarm above my oven that goes off every time I cook.. its a nuisance but it reminds me its there hand would go off if ever I needed it!!
    Such an important post! Thank you ; )

  12. Great post Amy! A VERY timely reminder.

    A friend of mine had her house burn down around her a few years ago. Her little dog saved her [my dogs Daddy actually!]. If it wasn't for him she would have died. The fire started in her room, by the time she woke up her room was engulfed. She lost everything. Absolutely everything except her dog.

    So scary to think about even still.

    You've reminded me I have to check our alarms now it's the beginning of the month too.



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