Fire Prevention in your Home - by Heather Chilvers, Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty

People tend to use more heaters and light more fires at this cooler time of year, so now the Christmas tree has been disposed of, this is a good time to review your fire safety equipment. I went to visit Graham and Jonathan Watts of A-Z Fire Protection Limited, to chat to them about what’s generally needed in a home to help keep you safe. A-Z have been in the fire protection business for 16 years, with over 100 years joint experience in the trade.

Currently; Planning requires all residential rebuilds, renovations and new construction to have a minimum of a 2 1/2lb ABC (all purpose) type fire extinguisher, located in the kitchen. Failure to do this will mean you will not get your signed occupancy certificate. There are two other types of Fire extinguishers being A, which is water and BC which is for flammable liquids or electrical. If your house is two storeys then it is a good idea to have a fire extinguisher upstairs too.

Fire extinguishers have a shelf life of about 10 years if treated properly. They should be inspected regularly and at least once per year by a certified fire safety technician to make sure the pin hasn’t been displaced or the pressure hasn’t dropped. There is a gauge on the outside which gives you a reading on this. If you are using the ABC which is a chemical powder fire extinguisher it is a good idea to turn them gently up and down until you can hear the powder moving on the inside as it tends to settle over time. Make sure everyone in the household knows where the fire extinguisher is and how to use it (even the children). Have a plan in place as to what you as a family should do if there is a fire, know your exits. Run through your fire escape plan with the children on a regular basis.

Please check if you have a KIDDE fire extinguisher that it doesn’t have a plastic head. These were manufactured between 1973 and 2018 and have ALL been recalled. If you have one of these you should replace it with one with a metal head. (Note; Now that I know this, I have seen two in people’s homes just this week).

There are many types of extinguishers available that can be purchased at hardware stores or suppliers and they start at about $65, which is a small price to pay for your family’s safety. Just because you don’t have a fireplace in your house does not mean you aren’t at risk for a fire. Keep in mind that 99% of the fires in Bermuda start in the kitchen on the stove or in the oven. However, fires can be caused by candles, cigarettes, flammable liquids (particularly if using a gas lantern), paints or gas usually stored in the garage, overloaded electrical services, irons, Christmas Trees and electrical appliances large and small being run on extension cords. These aren’t grounded, don’t do it! They can happen during hurricanes, in one instance a fire started in a hurricane and unfortunately the fire department couldn’t get to the house. The damage was extensive, and could have been prevented if an extinguisher was on hand.

So be sure to check and review your fire equipment and replace or upgrade if necessary. Have a warm, wonderful and safe winter in your home.

Heather Chilvers is amongst Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty’s Leading Sales Agents. She has been working in Real Estate for nearly 30 years. Follow ‘Heather Realtor Bermuda’ on Facebook, and ‘@heatherrealtorbermuda’ on Instagram.

If you have a question for Heather, please contact her at hchilvers@brcl.bm or 332 1793. All questions will be treated confidentially. 

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