Public benefit organisation Household Energy Safety Association of South Africa reports that emergency personnel have had to respond to fires at homes and in informal settlements across South Africa as the current cold snap continues.
While many of these home fires are accidental, there are several ways to prevent a fire from starting accidentally. Awareness of the possible causes of fires and what seemingly harmless objects could ignite and lead to a fire is therefore essential.
“Major causes of fires in the home are faulty electrical outlets and old or outdated appliances, as well as worn-out sockets that are not grounded properly. These can then ignite combustible items such as floors, curtains and rugs,” explains fire risk management company ASP Fire CEO Michael van Niekerk.
Homeowners often wire these electrical connections themselves, adding to the safety risk.
Electrical appliances used for heating, cooking and lighting are also major contributors to home fires. Therefore, it is important to check regularly if all of these connections are still sound.
Simple preventive measures include not overloading extension cables and plugs, not switching electrical appliances on a single plug all on at once, testing earth leakage devices, and checking that plugs and wall sockets are safe and not overloaded.
Therefore fire-safety checks are essential to eliminate or reduce the risk of fire breaking out in a home, he highlights. This comprises an on-site assessment in the home environment in order to establish where the risks are and developing and implementing specific fire-safety solutions.
“Leaving a gas heater, fireplace or paraffin powered cooker unattended can have fatal consequences if these start a fire in a home,” warns Van Niekerk.
As an accredited fire-risk management and support provider, ASP Fire provides a holistic, proactive and preventative total solutions approach to fire safety.
The consultancy designs integrated fire-risk assessments, as well as providing training and advice on the installation and maintenance of fire detection and suppression systems that meet all necessary regulations and standards.
“We provide fire risk consulting and rational design, as well as fire suppression and detection solutions for both home and industrial markets. We do not adopt a one-size-fits-all approach. Our solutions are specifically customised and tailored according to every client’s requirements,” Van Niekerk concludes.