How To Successfully Fireproof Your HomeAndrew Brandon
Using Fire Retardant Building Materials:
In a lot of cases, the materials chosen to build your home was not down to you. However, when the time comes to renovate and/or redecorate your home, this is a perfect opportunity to replace some materials used in the construction of your home to more fire-retardant alternatives. There are a few simple ways to achieve this without completely taking your house apart.
Depending on the choices made by the construction team that built your home, and the time it was built, the type of insulation used in your home could be a potential hazard. Fibreglass insulation is the ideal choice when it comes to fire safety, as well as having excellent thermal properties.
Fibreglass insulation is not flammable, and even though it can melt under high temperatures, the melting point is estimated to be around 540 Degrees Celsius, too high to be of any sort of concern in day to day life. If a fire were to occur, the insulation would melt and would not be a catalyst for the fire to spread further, preventing widespread damage.
Another simple way to replace features of already constructed pieces in the home is to replace any fixture, wall or flooring panels with a fire-retardant variety of the same or similar material. For example, any panels made from Standard MDF, can be replaced with Fire Retardant MDF. The Fire-Retardant variety of MDF is common place in buildings such as offices and cinemas to prevent the spread of fire in enclosed spaces with a high capacity of people at any given time.
The only slight issue with this fireproofing measure is that Fire Retardant MDF can cost as much as double compared with Standard MDF, but considering how much safer your home will be, it’s a worthwhile spend.
Using Fire-Retardant Decorative Materials:
Fireproofing doesn’t and shouldn’t stop at the exterior and structural elements of your home. There are many ways that your interior decoration can be fireproofed without sacrificing any aesthetic qualities. Common upholstery to be wary of in terms of hazard is loose hanging fabrics that will cause a fire to travel upwards, a particular example being curtains.
Fire-Retardant upholstery is readily available in a wide variety of colours and patterns, but it must be noted that you should do your research in to the relevant safety standard regarding this. If you are particularly fond of the upholstery you currently have in your home, there is an alternative way to fireproof these items without having to replace them.
Fire- Retardant upholstery sprays are also readily available and work by forming a protective layer around the fabric to resist heat and form water while the fire is trying to burn, resulting in a slower burn and therefore more time to act. It must be noted that these fireproofing methods do not mean the upholstery is guaranteed to not catch on fire, it just makes it less likely and slows down the burn time, so standard fire safety should and must still always be observed.
Installing Fire Doors:
Commercial buildings are under a legal obligation to have Fire Doors installed to protect against the spread of fires. In fact, if a business or owner of any commercial building is found violating these laws is at risk of a sentence of two years in prison. Fire Doors provide a barrier to stop fires from spreading from one room to another, blocking out flames and smoke for between 30 to 60 minutes, allowing for precious time for evacuation.
Fire Door regulations are slightly different in terms of domestic properties. The same rules apply as commercial buildings if your property has three or more stories, or a garage with an internal connecting door. Even if your property does not align with these regulations, Fire Doors are always an easy and effective fire safety solution, and the more you have installed, the better.
Using Fire Retardant Landscaping Materials:
In these modern times, we place most of our concern on fires starting from man made or electrical sources. However, a fire is just as likely to start by natural means and can even spread faster, made evident by the wildfires that obliterated parts of the US and Australia.
The best way to prevent a landscape-based fire is to use materials that lessen the chance of them occurring in the first place, and even if a fire does start, designing your landscaping in a particular way to stop it from spreading towards your home.
The best way to fire proof your exterior landscape is the choose your materials carefully. Concrete or stone for pathways is a safer choice as opposed to wood or other flammable materials, meaning that a direct path between the flames and your house has been cut off.
There are some surprisingly less well known and simple ways to prevent an outdoor fire, even down to the types of plants you choose for your flowerbeds. Plants such as lavender and honeysuckle have surprisingly high resistance to fire, as well as being delicate flowers that will integrate perfectly in to your landscape. If these plants are to be used, it is suggested to spread them out evenly to stop the spread of the flames and slow down burn time.
Other plant-based safety measures to take into consideration are to make sure any foliage, particular dry leaves, are swept away from the edge of your property and keeping plants well-hydrated, especially during the summer months, as healthy plants are much less likely to catch alight.
Installing An Arson-Proof Letterbox:
An unfortunate statistic is that over 50% of domestic fires in the UK can be attributed to some form of arson. The aftermath of an arson attack costs dozens of lives, and billions to repair the damage caused by all of these attacks.
Even though we just think of our letterboxes as a way of getting our post delivered in to our homes, many of us don’t realise that they are the most accessible way into our homes. Many cases of arson are the result of someone pouring flammable materials such as petrol through a letter box followed by a source of flame, and unfortunately, this method proves extremely effective. However, there is a way this can be prevented, with the help of an arson-proof letterbox.
These letterboxes work by running an extinguishing system built in to prevent the ignition of any flammable liquids or objects that may be put through your letterbox. The second barrier of protection comes in the form of a fireproof sheet sealed around the interior of the letterbox to prevent a fire spreading past the letterbox.
Installing this piece of equipment is a small step to protect yourself from being one of the 80,000 arson attacks committed every year.