Fire safety: prevention is the best protection

Fire Safety and Prevention Blogs Santam 3 min read 21 June 2023

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With winter upon us, many of us have begun warming our homes and offices with heaters or fires to stay cosy. This, coupled with potentially faulty wiring or appliances and lit candles significantly increases the risk of sparking a fire. 

Needless to say, fire-related property insurance claims rise sharply during the cold winter months. Given the high risk of fire, it’s important to check your home and business insurance policies to ensure you’re adequately covered.


Fire insurance is essential


Fire accounts for the largest percentage of insurance claims. Covering the cost of fire damage without insurance can be financially devastating for anyone. Flames, smoke and the water used to extinguish a fire can severely damage buildings, assets and belongings. If you are not adequately insured, you may not be able to rebuild, repair damages or replace assets. 


Prevention first


Risk management is crucial to reduce one’s exposure to fire; it can also significantly minimise the extent of damage if a fire does break out. Practicing good risk management essentially means that you are prepared for a fire. 

The adage: “prevention is better than cure” most definitely applies when it comes to fire safety. It’s important to take all the necessary proactive risk management precautions to prevent fires from breaking out in the first place, or to be able to put them out while they are still small and manageable.


So, what can you do to reduce fire risks? 


Fire extinguishers


Make sure you have fire extinguishers that are in good working order located in high risk areas where fires can be expected to break out, such as in the kitchen and next to any open fireplaces including braai areas. 


Electrical and Gas Certificates of Compliance


Old and unsafe electrical wiring can easily spark a fire and is therefore a big risk. Electrical wiring and wall sockets should be kept in good condition to reduce the risk of fire. Never compromise on electrical installations.  


The use of gas for both cooking and heating has become more common in South Africa. Any gas appliance and connections should be serviced regularly. Gas containers should always be installed and stored in accordance with standard regulations.


Always request a Certificate of Compliance for gas and electrical installations as this will confirm that the installation was properly done and is in compliance with safety regulations. It will give you peace of mind and ensure that you are compliant with your insurance policy should you ever need to claim.


Additional fire safety tips:


  • Ensure generators are properly installed and comply with all safety regulations
  • Install and maintain smoke detectors to help with early detection
  • Avoid build-up of materials that can act as fuel for a fire such as cardboard boxes, papers and plastic containers waiting to be recycled
  • Do not store recycling near flammable materials.



Don’t let your home or office go up in smoke, make sure you’ve taken all the necessary precautions so you can sleep easy knowing you are prepared for any eventuality.


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