Fire is natural and deadly. Despite advances in technology and safety devices, over 50 people die every year from residential fires in Australia.
In many cases, these deaths could have been prevented if the right equipment was on hand to help. Fire extinguishers and smoke alarms are two critical pieces of the puzzle. That’s why it’s important you speak to your local fire safety equipment suppliers today and make sure you have everything you need to prevent and deal with a fire.
But, if you find yourself facing a small fire and don’t have a fire extinguisher handy there are several other things you can do.
This is particularly effective when dealing with chip pan fires that react badly to water. If you spray the chip pan with water it will sink to the bottom of the pan because it’s heavier than the oil. The heat of the oil will turn the water into steam which will force the burning oil out of the pan.
The steam spreads the oil, increasing its surface area which increases the volume of oxygen it can access and rapidly turns a small pan fire into one that can burn down a house.
If you see the chip an on fire turn the stove off and cover the pan with either a fire blanket or a damp towel. It will smother the fire but you’ll need to leave it alone for several hours to ensure it doesn’t start burning again.
Smothering works for a variety of fires. If you have access to sand or even soil you can fill a bucket of sand or soil and throw it over the fire. It will smother it, starving it of oxygen and putting it out.
Before fire extinguishers there were buckets. While they may not deliver as powerful a spray of water as an extinguisher, a bucket can still be an effective way of putting out a small fire.
The key here is small, if it’s getting large then get out and call the fire brigade.
If you have a bucket of water throw it over the fire aiming for the center, where it’s hottest. Just remember, water is not a good idea on an electrical fire.
If you’re facing a fire and don’t have an extinguisher or it’s fairly large then seal the area as best as possible to contain the fire, get out, and call the fire service. Of course, the best approach is to try and prevent a fire from happening.
Electrical issues are one of the biggest causes of house fires, having your electrics inspected annually can dramatically reduce the likelihood of a fire starting. You should also invest in smoke alarms and fire curtains. These will alert you to danger and help to contain the fire.
You should only tackle a fire if you’re not putting yourself or others in danger doing so. If you are then leave the fire for the professionals and get yourself out.