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.
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
- 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
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
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