If you’re thinking of undertaking some DIY – from simply putting up a couple of shelves to refurbishing or re-decorating an entire room – there are a number of important safety rules to remember. For example, wearing protective clothing, ensuring good ventilation and taking care around tools and materials are vital.
Similarly, fire safety is an incredibly important – but often forgotten – safety consideration and one which can protect your home and everyone within it from the devastating effects a fire can cause. So before commencing any decorating project, make sure you’ve read our top fire safety tips…
1. Dispose of sawdust every day
Sawdust is extremely flammable and is often a by-product from a DIY job. Whether you’re sanding down a staircase, putting together a flat-pack table or drilling into a wall, the presence of sawdust is almost guaranteed and is something you need to take extra care of to remove the risk of fire.
Sawdust should be thoroughly swept up and disposed of every day, ensuring all shavings are kept in an airtight container.
2. Store flammable materials safely
Many decorating materials are extremely flammable – from paint and paint thinner to cleaning solutions and varnishes. As such, you should be careful when using them, keeping them well away from any possible sources of ignition and ensuring they are stored in a secure container when not in use.
Additionally, the cloths and rags you use whilst decorating should be hung to dry after using them to apply solvents and chemicals. Throwing them into a pile could cause them to spontaneously combust, so it is vital to avoid this.
3 .Take care around electricity
If you’re undertaking a renovation, it is likely that you may need electrical work carried out. This can range from simply moving the placement of a few plug sockets to re-wiring your whole property. However big or small the job, though, it is important to call in a professional.
Messing with the electricity in your home can be extremely dangerous and one of the most common causes of electrical fires is incorrectly installed systems. So if your DIY project includes any electrical work, make sure you call in a registered electrician to do it for you.
4. Cover your fireplace
Before any decorating work commences, it is important to cover the furniture and appliances within your home to protect them – and this is especially true of your fireplace. Small pieces of material, including wood chippings and sawdust, can otherwise get into your fireplace and potentially burn and scatter when it is used again.
Make sure your fireplace is completely covered to avoid this from happening and clean it thoroughly before using it again following any decorating work.
5. Don’t overload sockets
According to fire safety statistics, the misuse of equipment and appliances caused 14,700 fires in the home from 2011 to 2012. So taking fire safety measures when using electrical equipment during your DIY project is incredibly important.
If you’re using lots of power tools – from sanders and drills to steamers and saws – make sure you never overload your plug sockets. Overloading sockets is a huge fire safety risk and it is important to remember that you should never have more than 13 amps, or 3,000 watts, coming from any one socket.
6 .Test fire alarms following any work
Fully functioning fire alarms are a vital safety requirement within your home. However, they are an incredibly sensitive piece of equipment and should be treated with care – particularly following any decorating or DIY job.
Dust is one of the most common causes of false alarms and constant false alarms can cause you to become complacent when your alarm sounds and not treat it as an emergency. Therefore, it is incredibly important that following any DIY project, you make sure your fire alarm is clean and completely free of dust particles.
Similarly, paint or solvent cleaning materials can damage your fire alarm so you should make sure such materials never enter or get near it.
Written by the fire safety experts at Elite Fire.