It is summer twilight; the end of a long, hot and dry period. And that drought makes it easier for fires to start. Not only in nature, but also in and around your own home. How do you know if a house is as fireproof as possible? And what can you do if your home turns out to be a fire hazard?
For many people, the idea of fire safety does not go beyond installing a fire extinguisher and smoke alarm. Good business, says Leo Oosterveen from Fire Safety Building Holland. But he says there is so much more that deserves attention. “Fire safety requires attention at all stages of design and use of the building,” he says.
This is how security in your home actually starts before you even buy or rent the home. “How the building is put together plays an important role,” says Oosterveen.
In the Netherlands, there are several conditions that a home must meet before it can be called fireproof. For example, every building must have a clear and safe escape route. Everything should also be done to prevent a fire in one home easily spreading to the neighbours.
“In some buildings we come across a technical room where you can look up several floors. If there is also a waste container where people throw the remains of the barbecue, then it is a dangerous situation.”
Always check before moving
It is therefore important that you check these points before you move. To help with this, Oosterveen refers to the guidance Essential fire safety control points. “That book is a good first step. You will also find all the points for a quick scan, the things you need to be aware of when you take over a property.”
These points are not only important for your own safety. If there are problems that you discover after taking over, you must solve them at your own expense.
“So take that guide with you when you visit a place and ask questions. If you see something, report it. For example, to the fire department’s preventive experts. Because if something is wrong, you not only take the building, but also risk.”
Be aware of hot appliances
But even if your home meets as many conditions as possible to keep the fire risk as small as possible, there are still things you should be aware of. And the warm weather plays into that.
What do you have to take into account in particular with heat in and around the house? “The electronic devices,” says Yoni Hillen, spokesman for the Dutch fire service. “These must be able to cool down sufficiently. Think of phones, tablets and laptops, but also, for example, a refrigerator in a shed that is too hot. Electronic devices have to work hard in the heat to stay cool. the device gets too hot, this increases the risk of fire. Get these devices out of the scorching sun.”
A good start is therefore to see which units have been switched on for a long time and to find out what the maximum temperature is according to the manufacturer. Based on this, you can see if you want to place the device in another place, or maybe you want to turn it off completely.
Also pay extra attention to devices hanging on the charger. During charging, both the charger and the battery can heat up quickly. Especially if the charger or battery is not a model from the original manufacturer.
Be careful with your game console above 35 degrees
An appliance that overheats is not only dangerous for your home, but also for itself. Earlier this summer, Nintendo warned against using the Nintendo Switch gaming console at temperatures above 35 degrees Celsius. From that point on, the cooling can no longer guarantee that it cools down sufficiently. The result is not necessarily a fire hazard, but such overheating can lead to expensive damage to your devices.
Even outside the door, a little extra care in the warm weather can’t hurt. “We also see people extinguishing cigarettes in dry flower pots or window boxes,” says Hillen. “Just don’t do it, especially with the drought. The pots and trays are often near houses, sheds or on a balcony for example. If it catches fire, a small fire can easily spread to the house.”