Fire safety

Ensure your dreams don’t go up in smoke. Having a fire in the home is not only stressful, the damage caused can be devastating. . While you may think that such an event is out of your control, there are simple measures you can take to prevent a fire from happening and reduce the resultant damage if one was to occur.

Smoke Alarms

Every home should have at least one smoke alarm and preferably one at each floor level (in a central location). They can be purchased in supermarkets, DIY, hardware and electrical shops and should always bear the British Standard kite mark.

We recommend that you:

  • test the alarm every week by pressing the test button on the alarm
  • never use candles, cigarettes, matches or other naked flames to test smoke alarms
  • replace the battery if the alarm begins to beep intermittently
  • once a year, gently vacuum clean the smoke alarm

Cigarette Fires

  • Cigarettes are a common cause of fire. If you are a smoker bear in mind this simple checklist to ensure cigarette safety: Make sure every cigarette is fully extinguished
  • Never smoke in bed
  • Never leave lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended
  • Use a heavy ashtray that can’t tip over easily and is made of a material that won’t burn
  • Wait until the contents of the ashtray are cold before emptying it

Kitchen Safety

More than 50% of house fires start in the kitchen, generally due to cooking appliances. It is vital not to lose concentration or leave the kitchen unattended whilst cooking. For example, a chip pan left unattended can have disastrous results as the oil can easily overheat and ignite. Try using a temperature-controlled deep-fat fryer as an alternative and remember that if a pan containing fat or oil catches fire NEVER throw water on it.

Here are some other useful measures to help prevent a fire from starting in the kitchen:

  • Never fill a chip pan more than a third full
  • Don’t let fat and grease build up on the cooker, especially in the grill pan where it can easily catch fire
  • Check that your cooker is turned off when you are not using it
  • Never hang tea towels on or over the cooker
  • Check that the pan handles are not sticking over the edge of the cooker
  • Check that cables cannot be reached and pulled by children
  • If your hob has a lock, use it when the hob is not switched on

Escape Plan

Fire can develop and spread quickly through your home producing heat and large amounts of dense smoke and fumes. A smoke alarm can give you an important early warning. Get everyone out as quickly as possible and then dial 999.

To make sure that you can get everyone out safely:

  • Plan your escape route: the best route is your normal way in and out of your home
  • Think of any difficulties you may have getting out, for example at night
  • Have a second escape route in mind in case the first one is blocked
  • Keep both escape routes clear of things that might get in the way
  • Keep low below any smoke – crawl along the floor where the air will be cleaner
  • Feel doors with the back of your hand – only open if it feels cool and then only by a crack so that you can check for any dangers
  • If you are in a high rise – don’t use the lift. Go down the stairs