In­vest in the right equip­ment as fire sea­son nears

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

AS WE move into the sum­mer sea­son, the weather is right for fires and we are all cook­ing and en­ter­tain­ing more as the fes­tive hol­i­days ap­proach. As the tem­per­a­tures rise, the flash point for fires is lower so we need to be pre­pared.

If you don’t have an ex­tin­guisher or fire blan­ket in the house go out and buy one; it could save you thou­sands.

Read the fol­low­ing and then print it out and keep it handy.

Nine times out of 10, kitchen fires start on the stove, so if you don’t have a fire blan­ket or the cor­rect type of ex­tin­guisher, take note of the fol­low­ing, and make sure ev­ery­body in the fam­ily knows what to do.

It is im­per­a­tive the fire in the chip pan or what­ever, is doused im­me­di­ately. Once you see the pan is on fire, grab that tea-towel and put it un­der the cold tap, then wring it out – don’t leave any drip­ping water. Sim­ply place the towel over the burn­ing pot and wait for the fire to die down.

But if this does not work, call the fire bri­gade.

It is a nat­u­ral re­ac­tion to grab a con­tainer of water and throw it on the fire – but this is not the right thing to do – the water is heav­ier than oil, which in most cases is the cause of the fire, and will sink to the bot­tom of the pot or pan, where it be­comes su­per-heated.

The ex­plo­sive heat of the steam will then cause what re­sem­bles a mini nu­clear blast, splash­ing burn­ing oil over the en­tire kitchen.

And don’t throw flour or other dry sub­stances on to the fire; it will cause an ex­plo­sion sim­i­lar to a cou­ple of sticks of dy­na­mite.

If you are still scep­ti­cal, Google “ak­itchenoil­fire1”.

I’m go­ing to be a bor­ing old nag, but once again I vis­ited a home this week only to spot an­other il­le­gal gas in­stal­la­tion.

If you have any doubts about your in­stal­la­tion, please e-mail me your con­cerns and if I can’t help, I will point you in the right di­rec­tion, as you re­ally don’t want to have an in­sur­ance claim re­jected for lack of com­pli­ance.

More and more peo­ple are liv­ing in com­plexes where they live in each oth­ers pock­ets, not only in semi-de­tached houses, but in rows of houses where there are ad­join­ing neigh­bours on both sides, an in­stant recipe for dis­as­ter.

I spent an hour this week with a charm­ing reader who is bat­tling to sur­vive be­tween two unco-op­er­a­tive neigh­bours.

Af­ter our meet­ing, the reader sent me the fol­low­ing notes, which should give us all some food for thought.

What­ever the divi­sion be­tween your prop­er­ties, un­less it is prop­erly sound-proofed, noise is go­ing to carry, so please be con­sid­er­ate.

You are shar­ing a wall with your neigh­bour, which has low­ered your build­ing costs and has prob­a­bly helped in­crease se­cu­rity, so be con­sid­er­ate.

If you are do­ing any al­ter­ations on a com­mon wall, whether it is plumb­ing, elec­tri­cal or any other trade, please en­sure that the work is car­ried out to ap­proved stan­dards and that your neigh­bours are not go­ing to bear the brunt of your hav­ing cheap or sub-stan­dard work done.

If you are build­ing a new com­mon wall, en­sure that it com­plies with coun­cil reg­u­la­tions, es­pe­cially those re­lat­ing to fire.

Skimp­ing on your side, whether by us­ing in­suf­fi­cient ce­ment or not re­in­forc­ing prop­erly, could put the ad­join­ing prop­erty at risk.

And fi­nally, be­ware noisy pool clean­ers, which go doof, doof, doof in the mid­dle of the night.

If you are lucky enough to have a pool, en­sure that your pump/fil­ter is well in­su­lated to pre­vent sound trans­fer and that you have the qui­etest pool cleaner avail­able.

If pos­si­ble en­sure that the pool cleaner runs dur­ing the day when sur­round­ing noises help hide the noise and neigh­bours are usu­ally at work.

Next week – pre­par­ing new ex­ter­nal work for paint­ing

I must apol­o­gise to the reader who asked me how to clean oil and grease off a drive­way; I promised to phone him back but mis­placed his num­ber.

Hope­fully the fol­low­ing ad­vice will negate my neg­li­gence.

The same ad­vice we used for dirty lime-stained toi­let bowls will pro­vide the so­lu­tion – one of the “dark coloured co­las” and a scrub­bing brush is re­puted to do the trick, other­wise try kitty lit­ter for the ini­tial soak up, fol­lowed by a dry ap­pli­ca­tion of pow­dered laun­dry de­ter­gent.

Both should be ap­plied dry and well stamped in be­fore be­ing swept up.

Then scrub in a paste of water and de­ter­gent and sweep up again, then wash off with clean water.

Some stains may re­main, but the grease and oil will have been re­moved.

Last week Shireen asked about clean­ing ce­ment off win­dows, to which I replied, and she re­sponded by re­ply­ing the win­dow was ac­tu­ally alu­minium. These are the ba­sics for alu­minium win­dow care: Clean reg­u­larly. Sponge off dirt. Use mild or neu­tral de­ter­gents. Use soft ny­lon brushes or soft cloths. Con­sult a spe­cial­ist when prob­lems arise. Use wire brushes or sharp in­stru­ments. Use abra­sive clean­ing agents, acidic-al­ka­line sol­vents or paint re­mover. Clean with a power jet. Get ce­ment on frames. Drill ex­tra drainage holes.

Please keep your ques­tions or com­ments com­ing to don@ma­cal­is­ter.co.za or SMS only to 082 446 3859.

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