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Preventing fires during building or renovation work

woman and man working on home renovation

During decoration or renovation of your home, fire poses a real and dangerous risk. Help safeguard your home by implementing 10 simple rules with your builders or tradesmen.

  1. Avoid portable heaters. Fires are often caused by electrical heaters. Flammable materials placed too close to a heater are the most common cause.

  2. Initiate a no smoking policy. Smoking is the single most common cause of fire-related fatalities. This also applies to e-cigarettes and vaporisers.

  3. Ensure there is a fire extinguisher on site, a minimum of one per level. Make readily accessible firefighting equipment such as fire extinguishers, hoses, hydrants and emergency water tanks.

  4. Make sure people know how and when to use the fire extinguisher. Water extinguishers should not be used on electrical fires, for example.

  5. Implement a fire alarm procedure. In the event of a fire, define who will call the fire brigade and who will set the plan of evacuation into operation.

  6. Follow gas cylinder safety protocols. If gas cylinders are being handled, ask that they are safely secured in an upright position and fitted with a regulator and flashback arrester.

  7. Insist the site be kept clean and tidy. Waste material, packing materials, wood shavings and oily rags must be removed daily.

  8. Know what flammable materials are being used. Ask that all flammable paints be kept off the site if possible.

  9. Do not allow fires as a method of disposal. Insist rubbish is not to be burned on the site and instead should be disposed of properly.

  10. Implement hot works’ guidelines. Hot works are when your building team are using blowtorches or anything that requires a naked flame.
    • No hot works undertaken in flammable or dusty atmospheres.
    • No hot works to start until the surrounding area is cleared of loose combustible material, or combustible materials and wooden floors properly covered.
    • Hot works preferably undertaken in the morning.


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