Home fire safety is an extremely important concern for every household across Australia. House fires can be triggered from a multitude of causes, making them very unpredictable and extremely dangerous due to the speed at which they spread. In 2013, there were over 11,000 house fires across Australia that lead to more than 50 deaths. Consequently, installing firefighting equipment such as fire extinguishers and fire blankets throughout your home along with ensuring all smoke alarms are in good working condition is paramount to your home fire safety.
In addition to this, every household should also have a home fire escape plan which specifies two evacuation routes from every room of the house. All household members should be involved in creating this fire escape plan, and test evacuations should be performed at least twice a year to ensure everyone is familiar with each evacuation route. A multi-purpose ABE Powder Fire Extinguisher will also assist you should you need to evacuate, and fire experts strongly recommend having this type of fire extinguisher installed on each level of your home.
There are various preventative measures that every household should also take. Understanding the most common causes of house fires is critical so you can recognise which areas of your home are most susceptible to fires. For example, almost half of house fires are caused in the kitchen, and the most effective way of extinguishing a cooking fire is by using a Fire Blanket. In high-rise commercial and residential buildings, every front door must be certified as fire-resistant, and fire-resistant carpets must be installed to prevent the spread of fire. This leads us to an important question: should you install fire-resistant carpets in your home?
What are fire-resistant carpets?
Fire-resistant carpets are carpets that have been treated with chemicals that either stop or significantly slow the spread of fire through flooring. In fact, not only is the carpet treated with chemicals, but also the underlay, glues, and substrates. The Building Code of Australia (BCA) provides different rating classes for different carpets and applications. To be considered fire-resistant, the carpet must satisfy The Building Code of Australia’s AS ISO 9239-1 ‘Reaction to fire tests for flooring’.
Are fire resistant carpets worthwhile in your home?
For insurance reasons, fire-resistant carpets must be installed in commercial and contract carpet situations. This generally isn’t a problem considering that commercial carpets are typically tougher than residential carpets and are more fire-resistant because they have smaller piles and are less luxurious.
For one or two storey houses however, scientists at the CSIRO performed a series of tests and found that the spread of fire is directly related to the types of materials that make up the furniture and other decorative items in the house. A long time ago, when furniture was almost exclusively made from wood, the spread of fire was substantially lower than in today’s modern houses which typically consist of many petrochemical materials. These types of petrochemical materials are a highly reactive fuel for fires, so fire-resistant carpets will only have a small impact on the spread of fire throughout your house.
These findings highlight the fact that the most important priority when it comes to home fire safety is prevention, such as working smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, fire blankets, and maintenance of electrical equipment and cabling. Despite this, fire-resistant carpet will buy previous time in the event of a house fire, where evacuating to a safe assembly point outside your house is the top priority.
So, should I buy fire-resistant carpet!?
The best answer to this question would be to buy natural fibre carpets instead of synthetic fibre. As an example, wool carpets are naturally fire-resistant. While the costs may be slightly higher, wool carpets have an ignition temperature of approximately 6000C, requires a lot of oxygen to continue burning, and emits little heat when it does burn. If you decide to make your current carpet fire-resistant, don’t forget to check your carpets warranty and spend a bit of time researching the best chemical treatment for your particular carpet.
The hotter weather always brings a higher fire risk, regardless of the type of property you reside. If you have any additional questions about how to make your home more fire safe this summer, contact the specialists at King Fire Protection Solutions on 1300 344 966, or visit their website for further information: https://www.kingfire.com.au