When fireproofing your home, it’s important that you consider both the inside and outside. Fires don’t just start inside the house.
In the event of a fire originating outside your home, make sure your house can survive largely unscathed.
Here are some of the changes you can make to protect your home from a fire. If you are currently building a new house, it will be easier to incorporate these tips right from the start. Read on to learn more on how to fireproof your home.
1. Use fire-retardant materials
Some building materials like wood burn easier and faster than others. Using fire-retardant materials instead can prevent a serious tragedy.
Even if you are not building a new house, you can still renovate your existing one to include some fire-resistant materials.
Some good materials to fireproof your home with include concrete panels, stucco or brick for the exterior walls, steel framing for the windows and concrete or metal for the roofing.
If you are planning to put up a deck, forget wood. Go with concrete, tile, stone or brick.
For the interior, use fire-resistant curtains and upholstery. If you have any wooden furniture, a fire-resistant finish will slow down the spread of flames. For important documents, use fireproof bags.
2. Create a fire-stopping landscaping
This is especially important if you live in an area that is prone to wildfires.
The best way to protect your home from a wildfire or any fire that originates from the outside is to prevent it from reaching your house in the first place.
Use a landscaping design that either slows down the fire or stops it completely in its tracks.
- Use hard landscaping around the house. This includes concrete, gravel and stone. These materials will prevent the fire from touching your house. Find a way to incorporate features like the driveway, footpaths and outdoor sitting areas to be part of the fire defence.
- Clear dry vegetation and brush around your home. This is especially important during the hot and dry summer months when fires are more common.
- Use fire resistant plants for landscaping. Good examples include lavender, agave and bush honeysuckles. They won’t completely stop a fire but can slow it down significantly.
- Space out your plants and landscaping brushes to reduce the risk of a fire spreading.
- Keep your outdoor plants watered during the dry months. Lush green vegetation with high moisture content is less likely to burn.
3. Use fire resistant paint
If you can’t change the siding to one that is more fire resistant, consider painting it instead. Select a fire-retardant paint that reduces the risk of your home catching fire.
You can also use fire-resistant paint for the interior to protect against fires that originate inside the house.
4. Clean your gutters regularly
Even if you have a fire-resistant roof, dry leaves in the gutters can catch embers and cause a fire. Clean out any leave and debris regularly especially during the dry months.
5. Install a smoke/fire detector
You should already have a smoke detection system in place to provide an early warning in case of a fire inside the house.
According to UK Fire Service Resources, you should install a smoke detector in every room except the bathrooms. There should also be a smoke detector in the hallway between the living area and bedrooms.
For homes with multiple floors, include smoke detectors on each landing.
Traditional smoke alarms that beep when they detect smoke or a fire are great for most homes.
But for extra protection, I recommend modern smart detectors that also send an alert to your phone. This can make all the difference if you are away from home.
Note: Don’t forget to test smoke alarms at least once a year. Also check the batteries regularly. Smart alarms will send an alert to your phone if the battery is low.
6. Get a fire extinguisher
This one is a no-brainer. It can make all the difference between a small kitchen accident and a fire that razes down your entire home.
The UK Fire Service Resources has a handy guide on the different types of fire extinguishers available.
7. Get rid of clutter
Fire spreads quickly in a home cluttered with unused stuff like furniture and clothes.
Clutter-filled rooms like the basement or a guest bedroom are a fire hazard.
Go through your home, getting rid of anything you no longer use. Focus especially on flammable items like clothes, plastics, bedding, gadgets with batteries and toys.