2021 may be coming to a rainy end, but it's been a year marked by fiery tragedy. From the fire in Tuas that claimed three workers' lives, to the ones in Ghim Moh and Jurong West, these accidents are a reminder not to underestimate the many potential fire hazards in a typical home.
They may seem harmless but you'd be surprised at how dangerous they can be. Here are just some to watch out for:
1. Flour and Starch
Let's start with the place where you get your cooking done. It's no surprise that the kitchen has its fair share of fire hazards, but some don't look like potential dangers at all.
Did you know that milk powder, chilli powder and powdered coffee creamer are flammable? In fact, it was potato starch powder that cause the Tuas fire. Powder is extra dangerous when the particles are hanging in the air and exposed to heat. This is because their surface area is huge, compared to their mass — as burning takes place on surfaces, this makes it more flammable than a bulky object.
Be mindful when handling such substances, and take precautions such as closing a tin of milk powder if it's not in use. Store them in enclosed spaces as well, away from fire sources.
This one barely needs an explanation. As wine is alcohol, it's a fire hazard but this can be easy to forget, especially when you're unwinding with a glass after a long day.
If you've cooked a delicious vongolé pasta or beef stew using wine, you've probably left a bottle of wine open nearby within easy reach. This is a huge no-no and can potentially lead to an accident — if you're not using the wine, make sure to close the bottle and keep it away from the stove.
3. Disinfectants and Cleaning Products
Common fixtures in bedrooms and bathrooms — and even more so, in a post-Covid era — deodorant, hand sanitiser and laundry items such as softener and detergent, are in practically every household.
Due to their alcohol content, these are flammable objects and can combust if you're not careful. As always, ensure you keep them away from an open flame and store them in a place with sufficient shade from sunlight.
4. Table Tennis Balls
Is your ping pong game on fire? It may very well be if you're not cautious! These bouncy balls can easily burn because they're made of celluloid, a flammable polymer.
As the ball — and the celluloid — gets older, substances inside such as camphor can slowly escape. When exposed to heat and sunlight, it breaks down further and increases the chances of the ball catching fire.
Possibly the most shocking item on this list, this popular fruit is found in many homes. Beloved for its sweet citrusy flavour, not many people know the danger it can pose.
Dry orange peels contain an oil with a flammable chemical called limonene, which makes it unexpectedly flammable!
Truth is, our homes are full of unseen fire hazards. But instead of living in fear, you can be cautious and still have peace of mind with proper coverage.
That means finding out exactly what your current home insurance covers, and if there are any gaps to fill. For example, did you know that mortgage fire insurance only protects the building and structure of your home but not its contents? Some of the homeowners affected by the Ghim Moh fire didn't, and a crowdfunding campaign was even started to help them as their insurance did not cover their home contents.
If yours are not currently covered, get that fixed with Enhanced HomePlus. It offers up to $120,000 worth of coverage just for your household contents and personal belongings. You may also get covered for alternative accommodation and removal of debris in the event of an unfortunate accident.
Find out more about Enhanced HomePlus.