10 Ways to Prevent and Prepare for a Fire


It takes only 30 seconds for a fire at home to become life-threatening. The tragic fires at Ang Mo KioBedok NorthSeletar and Telok Blangah should be enough to give you pause. No one expects a fire at home and, sadly, most are unfamiliar with fire prevention and what to do in the event of one. So here are 10 things you can do to prevent and prepare for a fire. 


Always be ready and do not panic during a fire!

1. Plan your Escape

Working out how to escape a fire in your own home should be top priority. Learn to:

  • Stay low. Temperatures can reach 315ºC in a fire. Enough to cook your lungs and melt clothing onto your skin. At ground level, temps can be as cool as 37ºC.
  • Roll out of bed. In the event of a fire, smoke and heat rises. For reason #1, you don’t want to be where they are.
  • Touch doors safely. If the door or doorknob are cool, open slowly. If there’s fire or smoke, find another exit.
  • Close doors behind you. Fire feeds on oxygen. Closing doors starves it and slows fire’s progression.
  • Help others. Especially those who are unable to move as easily. Infants, elderly, and the handicapped come to mind.
  • Make sure everyone knows 995. That rings the ambulance and fire department. No, it’s not 911. That’s for Americans.
  • Never go back inside. If someone did not make it out, inform the firefighters; they have the tools to successfully rescue folks.


2. Install Smoke Detectors

These babies scream bloody murder when there’s smoke. Often, they’re the difference between a burnt stovetop and a giant, home-sized, ash pile. However, they’re no better than paperweights if you don’t maintain them. Test them every month, change the batteries as often as needed, and replace the units every ten years. 


3. Get Fire Extinguishers

Puts out fires faster than you can snap an Instagram of them, install these at high-risk areas like the kitchen and laundry room. Each one should last 5 to 15 years, depending on the make. Inspect them monthly and test them twice a year and you’ll be ready when it’s go-time. 


Photo Credit : Photo via Facebook / Singapore Civil Defence Force

4. Check your Cords

Homes these days have more cords than snakes on Medusa’s head and are just as dangerous if you’re not paying attention. Look out for:

  • overloaded power outlets. Plug too many appliances and/or devices and you’ll have an unscheduled indoor barbecue on your hands i.e. a fire from an overheated outlet. 
  • exposed or frayed cords. If you’ve ever changed a car battery, you’ll know that these easily spark. Replace or fix as you notice them.


5. Deal with Dryers

Ever cleaned up the lint filter on your dryer? No? Go look. That ball of lint is a disaster waiting to happen. It just takes too much heat to kickstart a burning inferno. And guess what creates heat? Yup. The dryer itself. Clean that filter every couple of months.

6. Smoking Safely (ahem)

Smoking just multiplies the risk of burning your home down tenfold. It’s no surprise; cigarettes are super hard to extinguish. Just try stepping on one. Takes a bit of effort to stamp out every single amber. Just remember to put them out in their entirety before throwing them away.

7. Mind the Candles

Yes, they are pretty. And sometimes, it smells great too. However, they are open flames. If you’re dead-set on having these around, remember:

  • Snuff them out when you leave the room
  • Blow them out before you sleep
  • Position them away from flammable stuff
  • Always place them on an even surface


Photo Credit : Photo via Facebook / Singapore Civil Defence Force

8. Put away Flammables

These include things like hair spray, cosmetics, household cleaner, insecticide, fertiliser… practically anything dry, in a bottle, or spray can. Check the labels, then place these things far, far, FAR away from anything hot. Sometimes, this includes the sun.


9. Clear the Clutter

No, this isn’t a trick to get you to clean your home. Clutter is dangerous for two reasons: 

  1. it serves as fuel to spread fire, and 
  2. it gets in the way of you either escaping or putting out a fire. Clear up that clutter. 

10. Kids Fire Safety

Let’s make this very clear: kids aren’t little adults. Rational thinking isn’t their best suit so be a responsible adult and teach them:

  • where the smoke detectors are, and what they do and sound like. Make sure they know what to do when they hear it.
  • stop, drop, and roll, so they know what to do when their clothing or hair catches fire.
  • not to hide. Many child fire deaths happen because kids try to hide by putting an obstacle, like a cupboard door, between them and the flames or even firefighters themselves, who can look scary in their firefighting gear. Teach them that no one can hide from fires and what firefighters look like.

Last Word on Fire Safety

Having a fire burn your home down is devastating. However, it doesn’t have to be a tragedy. Plan ahead, prepare your home, and keep a straight head and you should make it out of an event everyone hopes will never happen to them.


 Cover Thumbnail Credit : Photo via Facebook / Singapore Civil Defence Force


Posted on 3rd August 2022


Kenny Tan, 

SIXiDES Editorial Team


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