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How to survive and prevent fires

In general, a fire at your home can happen when you least expect it and that is why it is good to have measures in place to avoid excessive damage or loss.

GAUTENG. – South Africa has seen a rapid rise in the popularity of alternative power solutions being installed in residences, as homeowners look for ways of ensuring a reliable source of power.
Lithium-ion batteries have proven to be very well-suited for inverters because of their long life and high voltage, but poses its unique risks.
According to Fidelity Services Group’s SecureFire division that was launched in 2023, structural fires, veld fires, electrical fires, vehicle fires and lithium battery fires accounted for the majority of the 270 fire related call outs it has received since its launch in August 2023.
According to Wahl Bartmann, CEO of Fidelity Services Group, the team responds to about 11 incidents per week in the Gauteng Area.
Bartmann says South Africa has seen a rapid rise in the popularity of alternative power solutions being installed in residences, as homeowners look for ways of ensuring a reliable source of power.
Lithium-ion batteries have proven to be very well-suited for inverters because of their long life and high voltage.
“It is important that homeowners understand the potential risk of fire that comes with lithium batteries and how difficult they are to control.
Such a fire cannot be contained by water or other traditional measures.
Lithium-ion fires don’t burn cleanly and can vent toxic gases into the surrounding area.
“If you have installed an inverter at home, we ask that you investigate whether your fire protection measures are adequate and whether they are suitable for lithium fires.
Importantly these require a lithium fire extinguisher which should be placed close to your inverter or your battery bank,” says Bartmann.
In general, a fire at your home can happen when you least expect it and that is why it is good to have measures in place to avoid excessive damage or loss.
Fidelity SecureFire have put together a ‘Fire Safety Checklist’ to help you identify any vulnerable spaces in your home.
To ensure your home is safe from fire hazards use the below fire prevention checklist to ensure your love ones and your home are safe:
• Smoke alarms:
Smoke detectors are an excellent idea to install around your home and where you have an accumulation of electronic equipment that needs recharging.
• Fire extinguishers:
Ideally one should have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and garage. It is also useful to consider adding a fire blanket with the fire
extinguisher in the kitchen.
• Electrical safety:
Esure all electrical cords and plugs are in good condition without frays or damage; electrical outlets should not be overloaded with too many plugs.
• Heating appliances:
Heaters should be placed at least 1 meter away from flammable materials, like curtains, furniture, or bedding and if you have a fireplace, the chimney and vents are cleaned and inspected annually.
• Kitchen safety:
Stoves and oven should be free from grease buildup and all flammable items like dish towels.
• Candles and open flames:
Ensure candles are placed on sturdy holders and kept far away from curtains, bedding, and other flammable materials. They should be
extinguished before bed.
Finally, in the event of a fire, ensure you and your family have an escape plan. “You should have at least two ways to exit a room in your home in case of a fire and ensure there is a safety door. The keys to the door should be placed at a predetermined centralised spot.
Having a trial run twice a year to practice your evacuation is not a bad idea,” says Bartmann.
Lastly, remember to store any important documentation and emergency contacts in a fireproof safe; have all emergency contact numbers saved on all family members cellphones and, if you have a landline, next to the home telephone.

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