ARCHITECTURE: The Invaluable and Invisible Home Protection System

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There are many ways to let intruders know that your home is safe guarded and protected, and many items, tools and installations that can make you feel safer at home. We’re talking everything from a yapping dog to anti-climb grease on fences and drain-pipes, and a flashing burglar alarm system to an extra security lock on the front and back door. These are all well and good if your aim is to keep people out, but in 2017 one of the worst intruders to your property is still rarely considered – FIRE!

Do you have a checklist of things you do before leaving home (including making sure Kevin’s with you – Home Alone!)? Ensuring the oven/cooker is off, that electrical goods are unplugged, or battery operated items are not left on sun-drenched window sills? Once upon a time that was commonplace, but with smart homes becoming the new norm – with apps available to turn the heating on when you jump in the car after a hard day at work – and so many chargers plugged into tablets, laptops, phones and more, it’s getting harder month-on-month to avoid the risk of fire from electrical good malfunctions or freak occurrences in the kitchen.

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Homely Fire Services

A common misperception about intumescent and fire retardant paint is that it is for large public areas – shopping centres, hotels, building sites – but it is readily available to use at home.

The idea of having a fire door at home does sound ‘odd’. Who’d want a big, cumbersome and ugly door in their living room? No-one. But, if it is a solid wood door, there are fire door upgrade kits available (paint or clear varnish) that can transform a standard door into a fire door which offers up to 30 minutes’ fire resistance. This could be all the difference between life and death.

To catch up, something which acts as a fire retardant will reduce the flammability of a ‘fuel’. Therefore, fire retardant varnish on wooden wall panelling will delay its combustion and onset of flames. Intumescent paint on steel beams (in a garage for instance) will protect the stability and integrity of the steel in the event of a fire. Fire retardant paints can be used on kitchen walls, living room or dining rooms, as well as school canteens or office areas. A fire is a fire, it holds no prejudice to location – if there is fuel and ignition, it will burn.

If a property has wooden stairs, bannisters or overhead beams, painting or varnishing them with a fire-retardant coating will stop the fire from taking hold of them if a family is upstairs and a fire breaks out downstairs.

Of course, a property should always have a smoke or fire alarm, but if that alarm is screaming and the property needs to be vacated, can it be?


Hot Spots

Fabrics, including curtains, rope or even Christmas trees, can be treated with a fire-retardant solution (spray) that can restrict the sudden and dramatic devastation of fire.

Alcoves, cupboards, or corners of rooms where there are several electrical sockets could have the walls painted with a paint (which are available in hundreds of colours) that would contain the spread of fire should an item’s wiring or an overloaded socket combust into flames.

Firefighting foams, blankets and extinguishers are fantastic to tackle small fires, but using decorative protective coatings on surfaces at home could be the real safety measure that needs addressing in your home this year.

Act before and not in the event of a fire to tackle the blaze.

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