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Many people don’t have fire extinguishers in their homes, but if you ever experience a grease or electrical fire, they are vital for extinguishing the flames.
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How fire safe are you?

From dust bunnies to grease spills, the strangest things in your home can cause a fire. While these household regulars seem benign, if a fire sparks you can be stuck with a catastrophe if you don’t know how to put it out. Here are a few common places fires can start in your home, plus some quick ways to put them out.

 

1.  Grease and oil fires in your kitchen

When restaurants burn down, it’s almost always because an oil or grease fire gets out of control, but it can also happen in your home. Oil and grease combust differently to wood and paper fires, and they can’t be extinguished with water. In fact, flooding a grease fire often makes it worse.

Instead, invest in a fire blanket and keep it in your kitchen. By smothering a grease fire, you take away all the oxygen feeding the flames and put it out. If the fire is only very small, you can try smothering the small flames with a wet tea towel instead. If the fire is growing though, use a fire extinguisher to help put out the blaze.

2.  Lint fires in your dryer

Lint filters in tumble dryers can easily become clogged if you don’t clear them each time they’re used. Not only are over-filled lint filters disgusting, they’re also dangerous as the lint can block the dryer’s air filters and raise the temperature inside the dryer. As the temperature rises beyond normal limits, fires can start, and the lint is ideal kindling.

Because your dryer is an electrical appliance, always turn off the power source at the electrical panel, then grab your fire extinguisher to extinguish the flames.

3.  Dust bunnies

Accumulations of dust may have a cute name, but they’re also the perfect kindling for fires when nestled against heaters and electrical appliances like TVs. To prevent dust bunnies from catching fire in your home, ensure you sweep and vacuum behind appliances and heaters, and create plenty of space around heaters so the heat doesn’t get locked in.

If a dust bunny starts to smoke or catch fire, water can be used to extinguish it as long as power sockets and sources are nowhere near the fire. Use an extinguisher if any power sources are nearby.

 

4.  Overloaded power points and power cords

If a power cord starts to sizzle, you can extinguish the small fire with baking soda as it’s a chief ingredient in fire extinguishers. Yep, just normal baking soda. Never use water to extinguish an electrical fire as water conducts electricity and you could end up with a nasty shock!

If the fire is slightly larger, reach for a fire extinguisher with the capacity to extinguish electrical fires, and turn off the power at the electrical panel. However, if you don’t know how to use a fire extinguisher and you’re too panicked, always call the fire brigade for help.

5.  Fireplaces and candles

Fireplaces and candles are dangerous for the same reason; they can ignite objects and soft furnishings around them when left unattended. Always keep an eye on your candles and fireplace if it doesn’t have a door, and always keep your chimney clear. If your fireplace or candle has ignited a tiny portion of soft furnishings in your home; you can use water to douse the flames. If in doubt, reach for your fire extinguisher.

Many people don’t have fire extinguishers in their homes, but if you ever experience a grease or electrical fire, they are vital for extinguishing the flames. If a fire does occur in your home that can’t be stifled quickly, reach for the fire extinguisher and if in doubt, always call the fire service. Never feel guilty for calling for help as it could mean the difference between staying safe or getting injured.

 

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Don Milne

Don Milne is an experienced content creator and social media coordinator based in Melbourne. He has contributed to a wide range of websites and publications for over six years and has a passion for lifestyle information and "hacks" that help make people's lives easier.

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Homeloans Ltd.