Fire safety is a legal requirement in places of work, often involving a range of obtrusive fire safety installations such as extinguishers and fire doors as well as a general covering of the premises in all sorts of signage. In the home, we naturally expect fire safety to be much less conspicuous – but we do not want to compromise on safety.
Residential fire safety is therefore something of a tricky business. On the one hand, there is obviously no need for a large fire safety action notice sign informing residents how to get out of their own house; and yet, unsightly red fire extinguishers could undoubtedly be a useful thing to have around in the event of a fire, however much you would rather people couldn’t see them.
Home fire safety is a balancing act between robust fire safety and the aesthetic concerns of any homeowner. We don’t want our homes to look like places of work, but we would appreciate the same, if not a greater, level of safety when it comes to fire hazards.
Thankfully, these concerns are nothing new and this particular balancing act is one that has been made, with success, for many decades. It is quite possible to have a fire safety infrastructure that is both effective and discrete. Many fire safety products exist that offer both – you can have your cake and eat it too.
With new fire safety innovations and technologies being developed all the time, fire safety is becoming not only more effective but less obtrusive too. Read on then for a list of tips and handy products that will ensure your home stays at once beautiful, stylish, and securely protected against the threat of fire.
Smoke Alarms and Heat Detectors
Undoubtedly one of the most common fire safety installations, home smoke alarms have been a common feature of residential properties for decades. The relevant data shows that the vast majority of fires start when people are cooking and, therefore, also occur most commonly in the kitchen.
Thankfully, smoke alarms are not the most obtrusive of devices and can, in the vast majority of cases, be installed in a discrete location. Yet although visually discrete, they can though be very intrusive when it comes to the noise they make. Unfortunately, this is an element of smoke alarms that is absolutely necessary to their proper functioning – there is not much point in a quiet alarm.
A home-friendly smoke alarm would therefore not be one that doesn’t make a racket, but one that doesn’t go off when there isn’t actually a fire. In fact, one of the most hazardous elements of smoke alarms is not that they do not work, but that they are oversensitive and are set off by non-hazardous amounts of smoke (such as that from cooking or smoking a cigarette), leading people to disconnect them rather than suffer the inconvenience of a constantly sounding alarm.
Thankfully, this is something that is getting better. It is now possible to buy more advanced smoke alarms that can actually distinguish between hazardous and non-hazardous smoke. These can now be purchased from any supplier and are the obvious choice should you want an unobtrusive smoke detection system in your home.
Heat detection systems follow a similar pattern, with older over-sensitive models on the way out and more advanced detectors that can distinguish between dangerous and safe levels of heat.
Arrange a Fire Safety Home Visit
For some time, fire services have operated home visit schemes in order to ascertain whether a property meets national fire safety standards or if any changes need to be made to ensure the home is fire safe.
The great thing about arranging a home visit is that you can gain full peace of mind that your home meets safety requirements. This is especially useful if you have been prioritizing a discrete and ‘invisible’ fire safety infrastructure and are worried it may not be up to scratch.
In the event that your home’s fire safety does not meet standards, inspectors can advise you as to precisely what is needed. This allows you to make the necessary changes without overcompensating and installing something obtrusive or unsightly.
Ease of Access and Escape
In commercial locations and business premises, it is usually required that fire exits and fire assembly points are clearly marked with bright signage. This is to ensure that, in the event of a fire, everybody knows where to go.
In the home, fire safety signage is obviously unsightly and not something anyone would want to be placed all over their house. Thankfully, this is a problem that can be solved by nothing more complicated than a good knowledge of the premises by those that live there – and the best way to escape in the event of a fire.
This might seem beyond obvious, but it is something worth taking some time over. You may know very well the exits of your house or flat, but are such exits clear of obstructions and easy to use? Can doors be opened easily or will locks get in the way? If you live in a multi-story building, is there ease of access to a fire escape or other means of escape rather than taking the inside stairs?
Making sure that you can get out easily in the event of a fire is something that will not take long to plan and ensure, but you should take the time to do it all the same.
High Tech Solutions
As mentioned, smoke and heat detector technology is advancing at a dizzying rate, but that’s not the only element of fire safety technology that is seeing the benefit of increased technological innovation.
The future of home fire safety seems to lie in a technology known as the Internet of Things (IoT). This is an innovative technology that involves the integration of home appliances (such as alarms and sprinklers) across the internet, connecting them also to an advanced data collecting sensor system.
When all of the fire safety elements of a home are connected in such a way, it becomes possible for a fire to be tackled automatically and more efficiently. Heat sensors may, for example, ascertain the intensity and location of a fire and activate sprinkler systems in that area. Fire services can also be automatically alerted by such systems and fire services can receive information about the fire before they even arrive.
With such technologies now available and others being developed, it has never been easier to install a fire safety system in your home, a system that is highly effective and does not spoil the look.