PETALING JAYA: Electrical fires accounted for one of the highest number of fire cases in Malaysia numbering 2,453 in 2015.
From January to June last year, there were 1,063 cases.
With so many electrical appliances in each household, the risk of a fire is always there and the onus is on houseowners to make sure their homes are safe.
It is also vital that each household is equipped with the three most basic fire safety equipment – smoke detector, fire extinguisher and fire blanket.
Fire Fighter Industry Sdn Bhd executive director Michelle Hah said these items would make a difference and buy victims some escape time during a fire.
She said the fire extinguisher is very useful to put out small fires and to open up a path during an escape.
“Pull the pin, aim the nozzle at the root of the fire and squeeze the trigger. Sweep the nozzle from side to side to create a path.
“Always remember to aim at the base or the root of the fire instead of the flames to put out the fire effectively.
“Put the extinguishers at places where they are easily accessible during emergencies,” said Hah in an interview, adding that fire extinguishers with 3kg capacities were perfect for homes.
The most common ones are those with 9kg capacities which are for commercial use.
Hah said the most recommended type of fire extinguisher is the one using dry powder as it covers combustible solid materials, flammable liquid, flammable gases and electrical, which are the four main classes of fire.
She also suggested that every house should have an emergency key box placed near the door or window.
“These are the casings with glass that come with the words ‘break glass for key’.
“The glass ensures that no one removes the key from that position,” said Hah.
Meanwhile, the smoke detector functions as the first alert as people would not be aware of a fire during the very early stages or when they are sleeping.
“The amount of smoke it takes to trigger the alarm is equivalent to smoke exhaled by three smokers.
“It usually gives those in the house about three minutes to escape, after which the fire will grow.
“After about eight minutes, the whole house will be engulfed in fire,” she said.
Requiring only a nine-volt battery, Hah said the smoke detector emits a loud sound of 85 decibels. It will also emit a lighter sounding alarm every five minutes when the battery is low.
She added that there should ideally be a smoke detector in the kitchen, living room and each bedroom.
If a homeowner decided to buy only one, Hah said the recommended place to install it was the living room.
“The next thing is the fire blanket, which is very useful to protect yourself when escaping from a burning building.
“It comes in many sizes but the perfect one would be the one measuring four feet by four feet (122cm x 122cm).
“Bigger fire blankets might cause one to trip in the course of escape,” said Hah, adding that a fire blanket is also handy to put out wok or grease fires.
She reminded the public never to use water to put out wok fires as its density is higher than oil and this would cause the fire to spread.
Hah said the smoke detector, fire extinguisher and the fire blanket were available for less than RM100 each.
Fire Fighter Industry sells the three items in a set called the “Home Protector Kit” for less than RM250.
She reminded the public to only buy safety equipment that were approved by Sirim and also have the International Organisation for Standardisation certifications.