Your home is your castle, where you feel the most relaxed and can truly be yourself, yet it is full of potential dangers. And although it isn’t practically possible to completely remove the risk of fire, you can take measures to prepare for the worst by following our home fire safety tips.
Cooking appliances accounted for around half of all accidental house fires in 2015/16. Smoking materials as well as electrical distribution and appliances were other common sources of ignition in dwellings.
Most fires in the home can be prevented by simply being more mindful about what you’re doing. This would include not leaving food unattended when it cooks, not smoking in bed where you’re likely to fall asleep, and by avoiding overloading plug sockets.
So take a look around your home, and note where there is more potential for a fire to start. Our home fire safety tips will help get you started in assessing your home’s risks.
How Will You Know There’s A Fire?
Every second counts when there’s a fire. It can make the difference between extinguishing a small fire and it spreading into a large fire. Unfortunately, it also makes the difference between life and death.
Smoke detectors are the best way to become aware of a fire potentially being present in your home. Thankfully, around 89% of households now have a working smoke alarm.
It’s key to make sure you’re choosing the right detectors, placing them in the right places, and regularly testing them to guarantee they’re still in good working order.
Optical smoke alarms are best placed around the home as they’re less prone to false alarms, meaning the neighbours won’t have to know you burnt the dinner again. And by installing a heat alarm in the kitchen, you’ll find out as soon as it’s starting to get too hot.
Whenever you hear an alarm, check it out straight away and never just pass it off as a false alarm until you know for certain. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
How Will You Put Out A Fire?
There’s a small pan fire in the kitchen, and you need to put it out before it gets out of control. DO NOT pour water over it, as you may find that the fire actually spreads rather than goes out.
The best option is to use the fire blanket which you have installed on the kitchen wall to grab and use within seconds. You cover the pan with it and turn the heat off, which will starve the flames of oxygen and cause the fire to extinguish.
Alternatively, or for when the fire is larger, a fire extinguisher is ideal to have in the home. There is a wide range available, from aerosol extinguishers designed for easy use on most types of fire to traditional extinguishers you know you can rely on in an emergency.
When tackling a fire, be sure to aim it at the base of the flames, stand well back, and ensure you can safely make your exit if it doesn’t work. But if you’re in any doubt, get out, stay out, and call the fire brigade.
How Are You Going To Get Out?
Think about the way you and your family would get out of the house if it were to go up in flames, including from the rooms upstairs.
Where possible, always use the route you most commonly use in and out of your home as it is the way everyone will be most familiar with, and have keys nearby so locked doors don’t hinder you.
Have a plan B in case that route is blocked, by using a second route out such as the back door into the garden. For when you’re upstairs, and you can’t get to the stairs, you’ll want to consider a fire escape ladder.
Providing you with a safe route out of an upstairs window, it simply hooks over the window sill and ledge for you to climb down it. To get you familiar with setting up the ladder, and everyone with using it, do a practice run so you know what you’re doing in an emergency. There is little worse than trying to understand instructions in a hurry.
In fact, it’s a good idea to carry out a fire drill with your whole family so that when there’s an emergency, they don’t panic and hide rather than escape.
While you’re installing or checking your smoke detectors, don’t forget about the carbon monoxide detectors as they’re equally important and are vital life savers. If the silent killer is present in your home, they’ll raise the alarm and alert you before it reaches dangerously high levels.
But you can also prevent carbon monoxide from entering your home by simply having your gas boiler and cooking appliances installed, and checked annually, by Gas Safe Registered engineers. And when you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, have your chimney swept before the weather turns cooler.