15 tips to keep your house safe from fire

by Rocelle Tangi

Posted at Mar 17 2014 04:34 PM | Updated as of Mar 18 2014 12:34 AM

MANILA – More than 3,600 fire incidents have been recorded in Metro Manila alone in 2013, around 8% higher than the 3,424 cases recorded in 2012, data from the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) show.

As part of the BFP's programs for this year's Fire Prevention Month, authorities will be inspecting dormitories and business establishments for fire safety.

To make sure that your house is safe from fire, here are some tips from the BFP:

1. Plan ahead

Prepare a fire emergency plan at home or at the office. Know your escape route and where to evacuate in cases of fire. Know the contact numbers of your local fire authorities.

2. When not in use, unplug!

Simply put, unplug appliances and devices that are not in use. It can save you money on electricity bills as well as save lives.

3. Refrain from using "octopus connections"

Keep in mind that plugging several cords into an electrical socket designed only to hold one or two plugs is a fire hazard. Also remember that extension cords are for temporary use.

4. Fix tangled cables

Secure loose cables and wires using electrical tape. Replace old ones regularly. Not only will your room look better, it can also save you a call to your local fire department.

5. Check for gas leaks

Use your nose. Look for leaks and signs of fumes, and change the hose accordingly. Keep the air fresh by ensuring adequate ventilation for your LPG tanks.

6. Follow ‘No Smoking’ signs

The signs are not there to make life harder for you. These "No Smoking" signs are there to warn you of the dangers a lit cigarette can pose to an area.

7. Don't smoke in bed

Never light a cigarette while you're in bed. It might just be the last thing you do. But if you must, remember to dampen the cigarette butt in an ashtray before dozing off.

8. Dispose of cigarette butts properly

Never throw away lighted cigarette butts especially if they will land on dried leaves or paper. Dampen cigarette butts before throwing them into the garbage.

9. Do not leave lighted mosquito coils unattended

Never put mosquito coils (katol) near curtains or beddings, or other flammable materials.

10. Safe cooking

Limit the amount of cooking oil that you will use to at least 1/3 of the pan. If you need large amounts of oil, cover the pan with a tight lid.

11. Never leave lighted candles unattended

Keep candles at least a foot away from clothing, curtains, upholstered furniture, greenery, decorations and any other flammable items. Always use a sturdy metal, glass or ceramic candleholder.

12. Keep flammables away from kids

Kids are always curious about everything they see. Keep flammable materials such as chemicals, lighters, matches or candles away from them.

13. Proper storage of combustible materials

Keep flammable materials away from curtains, papers and clothes. Store them in areas that are properly ventilated and far from the kitchen.

14. Practice proper housekeeping

Good housekeeping prevents fire hazards. Keep things in their proper places. Remove things that easily trigger fire.

15. Free fire inspection for your house

Have your house inspected by members of the Bureau of Fire Protection, free of charge. For more information, call the BFP's hotline, (02) 729-5166.