Dumb ways to die

Prevent unnecessary deaths or serious injury by knowing what you can and can’t do in and around your home. Some tasks require registered contractors to do the work.


Knowledge is power

  • Electrical, Plumbing, LPgas and Refrigerant gas installers must be registered with the appropriate legislative bodies.
  • Only use products that meet or exceed the minimum requirements of the South African National Standards (SANS).

Safety tips as a prevention is always better than a cure:

  • Install smoke alarms throughout your home building.
  • Have a fire extinguisher available on every level of your home, and specifically near the kitchen.
  • Take gas bottles to your nearest gas retailer to have them checked for leaks on a regular basis. This includes gas bottles used for heaters, braais and stoves.
  • Unplug and switch off all electrical appliances that are not in use.
  • Do not overload one single power source.
  • Ensure that electrical wiring is intact.
  • Keep clutter to a minimum in and around your home.
  • Never leave heaters, electrical blankets or stoves unattended.
  • Check your heating appliances for damage before you “fire them up” this winter.
  • Make sure you have adequate residential buildings insurance in place to cover you in the event of a fire at your home.

What you should do if you get burnt:


  • Stop the burning process by removing clothing and irrigating the burns.
  • Extinguish flames by allowing the patient to roll on the ground, or by applying a blanket, or by using water or other fire-extinguishing liquids.
  • Use cool running water to reduce the temperature of the burn.
  • In chemical burns, remove or dilute the chemical agent by irrigating with large volumes of water.
  • Wrap the patient in a clean cloth or sheet and transport to the nearest appropriate facility for medical care.


  • Don’t start the first aid process before ensuring your own safety (switch off electrical current, wear gloves for chemicals etc.)
  • Do not apply paste, oil, haldi (turmeric) or raw cotton to the burn.
  • Do not apply ice because it deepens the injury.
  • Avoid prolonged cooling with water because it will lead to hypothermia.
  • Do not open blisters until topical antimicrobials can be applied, such as by a health-care provider.
  • Do not apply any material directly to the wound as it might become infected.
  • Avoid application of topical medication until the patient has been placed under appropriate medical care.

Compiled by Kayla Myburgh for Home Inspirations.