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How to deal with most common household emergencies 

Emergencies in our home happen from time to time. They often catch us off guard, which makes it hard to think. The best way to prevent a panic attack next time your boiler bursts in the middle of the night is to inform yourself and be prepared. Here are a few of the most common household emergencies and what to do if they occur.

Kitchen fire

The sight of an open flame in your home may be terrifying, but it is important to keep your cool. The most common kitchen fires are grease fires, in which case you should turn off the stove and cover the pan with a metal lid to suffocate the fire. You can also put a lot of salt or baking soda to smother the flames. Never use water to stop a grease or electric fire. If your oven catches on fire, keep it closed and unplug the stove. In case the fire continues, evacuate everyone from the house, and call triple 0. It is always a smart idea to check your smoke detectors regularly.

Gas leak

Gas leaks are unfortunately common, especially if you have gas heating or a gas stovetop. If you smell gas inside your home, take immediate action, since gas leaks can cause an explosion or make you sick. In case of a gas leak, Australian Gas Networks suggests you do all the following:

  • don’t smoke or light any matches
  • don’t turn anything electrical on or off
  • open all the doors and windows to air out the room
  • turn off the gas supply at the meter
  • contact a licensed gas fitter to repair the leak

Water leak

You can save yourself thousands of dollars in damages if you immediately react to a leaky pipe. Even if it is just drops of water dripping from your ceiling, or water pooling under your sink, or even wet spots in your backyard, it is important to respond quickly, since water leaks can potentially cause irreversible structural damage to your property. Shut off your main water valve, or the valve on that particular pipe, mop the leaked water, and call a professional. If you are nearby, we suggest calling an excellent plumber in the Blue Mountains area.  You may try to fix the leak yourself, but it is a better idea to call someone who knows what they are doing.

Blocked toilet, or drain

In case your drain or toilet get blocked, it could be because something fell inside and got stuck. You can try to remove the blockage yourself. Drains often get clogged from excess hair mixed with soap and grime. Simply unscrew the drain cap and remove the hair with your hand. It is advisable to use gloves. If you cannot see the what is blocking the drain, bust out the toilet plunger and get to work. If your toilet is clogged, turn off the valve to cut off supply to your toilet, then throw towels to soak up the excess water. Then get a plunger and try to unblock it yourself. If nothing works, call a professional blocked drains plumber, because the blockage may be in the pipes.

Power blackouts

If your power gets cut off, the best thing you can do is clear any safety hazards while it is still day outside. Avoid using candles, instead use flashlights and battery powered lamps. If you have a gas stovetop, use that to heat up canned food, since it is much easier to prepare.

Broken or burst hot water system

Hot water is a luxury we often overlook. We take it for granted and usually forget to check on our water heaters before it is too late. Do not wait for your boiler to start leaking before you call in an expert for a maintenance check. Australian Hot Water says you can expect an electric hot water system to last between 10 and 15 years on average. If something happens, shut your water supply and immediately call an expert.

Damaged roof, gutter or downpipe

The hot Aussie sun can do a lot of damage on your gutter and downpipe. If it rusts through and develops a hole, try fixing it yourself by going to Bunnings, and getting some roofing cement and a gutting scoop. Spread a generous amount on both sides of the hole and to secure the metal patch over it. A damaged roof, on the other hand, is something only a professional should repair.

Household emergencies are inevitable. We gave you a few tips to follow, so that next time you will be on top of the situation. By educating yourself you will feel much more secure and confident to handle the issue the proper way, without panicking and risking your loved ones.

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