These days, many people have careless accidents in their homes resulting from outbreaks that could have been avoided if certain precautions were taken. Fire outbreaks in homes could result from electrical faults or mere carelessness in handling inflammables. Just the other day, I heard a devastating story of a man whose house was totally consumed by fire in a matter of hours while he was away. He lost everything, including the equipment he was using for his bakery start-up business to cater to the needs of his family. Electric fire has ruined the homes of many individuals, especially those people living in the congested areas of Lagos. Erin Huffstetler, writing expert in Frugal Living, indicated that the knowledge of certain equipment in your home could save you a lot of money and trouble.
Where are the ‘shut-offs’ located?
Firstly, you must know where the shut offs are located. You must ensure that everyone in your household knows where the shut offs are for the water heater, gas, electricity, etc. and how they work. In the event of a mechanical failure or an emergency, shutting things down quickly could help you to avoid a fire, flood, and explosion; ultimately protecting your home and family from danger.
How old are your appliances?
Secondly, you have to know how old your appliances and systems are, especially if you purchased them secondhand. Conduct some research to determine the age of all of the appliances and major systems in your home. These include your air-conditioning unit, hot water heater, sump pump, refrigerator, stove and any other appliance. Take note of their typical life expectancy at Consumer Reports, use the information to predict their replacement dates and then plan towards it.
Are your smoke detectors working?
Having smoke detectors in your home is not enough to ensure your family’s safety but they have to be in proper working order, tested monthly, cleaned regularly and must have the batteries replaced at least once a year. Smoke detectors should also be replaced every 10 years, as they do eventually wear out, Huffstetler stated.
Do your appliances run on non-electric fuel?
If you have appliances or systems in your home that run on wood, gas, oil or any non-electric fuel, then you must consider carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure you have the right number of detectors for your home and you must follow the instructions that they come with to ensure their testing and maintenance.
Do you know what is inside your walls?
Huffstetler states, “A pretty exterior can hide all sorts of ills”. If you had a home inspection when you bought or rented your home, you need to pull it out and review what was said about your home (you may catch things that you overlooked before). Is the wiring old? What about the plumbing? Were there signs of current leaks? Drainage issues? Termites? “Knowing these things can help you catch safety issues before they become a problem and help you to plan ahead for repairs that seem inevitable”, she said.
When was your last home inspection?
How long ago did you inspect you home? Perhaps when you first moved in? You might consider spending a few thousands of naira on another home inspection. Things change over time, and a trained professional may catch a serious issue that you’ve overlooked. This is an especially good idea, if you’ve done a lot of renovation in your home.
When is repair vital?
According to Huffstetler, some repairs can be put off. Others cant. You must learn how to accurately size up the situation, to avoid procrastinating your way into a much bigger and costlier repair in the long run.
Do you own a fire extinguisher?
It is a no-brainer that a fire extinguisher is an absolute necessity in your home and you must purchase one before moving into a new home. Most people may argue that they almost never get to use it and it may end up sitting on their wall for years. But hey, this is a preventive measure and you just may never know if this simple precaution may end up saving your property or even your life in the event of a fire.